Did you know that 20% of minors are approached online by sexual predators? Children who spend unsupervised time online are especially vulnerable. Statistics show that 75% of children who have been sexually abused online never tell a parent. It can be terrifying for parents to know about the dangers lurking within the walls of their own home but feel helpless to do anything about it. We understand that it's hard to set boundaries and provide oversight when it comes to your child's social media, while at the same time maintaining a trusting relationship with your child or teenager.
What is digital parenting? According to the National Institute of Health, digital parenting requires basic technology literacy, awareness of online risks and threats, and knowledge about how to protect a child against these risks. Effective digital parenting incorporates digital technologies into parenting practices, regulating a child’s interaction with digital media, and following ever-evolving technological developments.
Digital parenting is not easy and can impact parent and child mental health. We get it. The pandemic created an environment where most of us, adults and children alike, now find it normal to connect to our community through computers and smartphones. We, the adults, might even feel like we don’t have a handle on our screen use. For most children, attending school, the place where academics and social learning are paramount to development, through a screen is normal. Monitoring our children’s use of technology, however, does not feel normal to many parents.
Part of being a parent is keeping your child safe. Looking through your child’s things, constantly looking over their shoulders, might feel like an invasion of their privacy. Nonetheless, your children are peering into an unknown world and accessing media content and people that cannot always be controlled, even with parental safeguards. Even children who parrot the rules of online safety such as “only connect with people you know” or “never share photos” and “never share your whereabouts” can fall victim to predators.
Whole Wellness therapists have tools to help you navigate the complexities of digital parenting. Below are a few resources that can help you and your child set boundaries and stay safe in the ever-changing digital world.
Create a family media plan:
FDA-approved apps for mental health:
Helping Survivors Resource: