Digital Devices: How Young is Too Young?
Online and Mobile Safety Children these days are growing up surrounded by new technologies. The question isn’t if parents should allow their kids to use online devices, but when?
According to a new survey by Microsoft, titled “How Old is Too Young?,” 94 percent of all parents allow their kids to use at least one online service or device. The survey also found that the average age at which parents allow children to use devices independently is eight years old.
Additionally, 29 percent of parents allow their children to use mobile phones unsupervised, while 40 percent allow their children to use a computer unsupervised. In total, 41 percent of parents allow their kids to use a gaming console unsupervised.
Parents should talk to their children about promoting a positive image online and being respectful of others when posting comments.
“It’s never too early—or too late—to talk to your kids about being safer, smarter, and more considerate online,” said Jacqueline Beauchere, Chief Online Safety Officer at Microsoft. “While kids may be savvier about how the devices work, parents can be instrumental in helping to shape how kids think about, engage with, and generally behave with technology both online and off.”
Below are tips for parents on how to start or continue the online safety conversation, with the goal to engage educate, enforce and evaluate the best rules for your family: Parents should help children choose apps that are appropriate for their age and maturity. It’s important to use and buy apps that are well-reviewed and from a reputable source.
Once kids start signing up for social networking sites, parents should help them make their profiles private and also ask them to think twice about who they accept as friends.
Finally, parents should talk to their children about promoting a positive image online and being respectful of others when posting comments. It’s important to come together and explore the games kids want to play and create family guidelines for their use.