We teach them how to drive, how to cook, and how to find their way through tough situations. But parents today have added another task to their “essential parenting” list they must impart and that is: good tech habits.
The role of technology in families is only growing. Tech has become a rather hefty line item in the family budget, a critical communication channel within the family, an essential learning tool, and a social and safety responsibility for families every where.
Here are 10 tech habits to pass on to your kids:
1. Your password is top secret. That means that your child doesn’t share it with her BFF, her boyfriend or even a sibling. The exception here, of course, is a parent.
2. Limit third party access. Many times apps will come with permission requests to your social channels. Teach your kids to clean out their third party permissions on Twitter, Facebook, and cell phone.
3. You replace lost technology. This is likely an issue of debate depending on your parenting style. However, when I got my bike stolen when I was 12 (which cost a fourth of what an iPhone costs), I had to earn the money to replace it. I never left my bike outside unlocked again. Teach your kids the value and gift of technology by making them financially responsible for it.
4. Back up data regularly. Backing up photos, schoolwork, and personal projects is critical for kids—whether they understand it or not. No matter how much they protest, teach them how to use a backup drive, drop box or the cloud routinely.
5. Tame your tech. It’s the truth: if you don’t govern your tech, your tech will govern you. It can easily become a distraction, time waster, and even an addiction for some people. Help your kids understand the priority of technology in their life and how to balance it with healthy living.
6. Nothing is private online. Even if privacy settings are maxed or if a SnapChat photo only lasts 10 seconds then dissolves, once a photo, thought, or piece of personal data is shared, you lose control of it . . . forever.
7. Face-to-face still rules. Your child may connect with hundreds of “good” friends while playing video games, chatting, Skyping, or sharing stories in secret groups on Facebook. Still, face-to-face conversation away from technology is the most powerful, genuine way to build and keep long-term relationships.
8. Pay attention to posture. As we morph into texting, typing, face-in-gadget beings, our posture is more important than ever. If possible, outfit your home PC with ergonomic-friendly wrist pads, a support chair, and lifts that raise the computer to proper screen height. Also, teach your child to take brain and eye breaks from his mobile marathons.
9. Tech etiquette matters. A casual glance toward your mobile phone screen during an interview can alter your future if the move offends a potential boss. Tagging someone in a photo without her permission can ruin a friendship. Sharing emotion-charged opinions online can damage your reputation. And, constantly posting to Facebook during a date or an important event, can get you blacklisted socially. Teach your kids what is acceptable tech etiquette and remember to follow the rules too!
10. You are a target. It’s a tough reality to teach, but chances are, sooner or later, because security risks are high online, your child will be a victim of some form of online scam. So teach your kids how to protect themselves. They can do this by creating strong passwords, maximizing privacy settings, being proactive against viruses and hackers, and to treating their personal information like gold.