3 Technology Safety Tips for Parents That You May Have Overlooked

With three, very active, very socially connected daughters--we have had our share of technology-induced dramatics over the years. While most of these issues were petty, tween antics resulting in hurt feelings or broken promises; our problems could have been much more severe. From sexting to online predators to hacking and personal data breaches--parents have had to learn about a lot of risks using technology and effectively teach and guide their children in the use of technology. In spite of it all, some parents may be allowing some very risky behavior without really recognizing or appreciating it all. Today, I wanted to share a few technology safety tips for parents that you may have overlooked.

Understand the apps that your child uses. Even if you may not plan to share play by play photos of your day with a group of followers; your child may be doing just that. We all know that it is crucial to safeguard the personal details that your child shares online. But, what about the details that some apps share behind the scenes? My daughters are constant Snapchat users. We have talked about the information that they are allowed to share, the friends and followers they are permitted to engage, etc. I realized recently that Snapchat has a feature to enable users to see other user locations plotted on a map when logged into their accounts. This app feature would be great for meeting up with friends unexpectedly at the local mall--but, probably not so great in instances of bullying or mean-girl situations. Take the time to understand the actual details and features of apps that your child uses so that your child can understand when to use specific features and when to disable them.

Understand the signs and symptoms of technology addiction
. Some kids handle the constant-on world of technology and social media in stride with few issues. Other kids; however, may become overly stimulated, distracted, or even showsigns of withdrawal when device usage is limited. Pay attention to changes in your child's behavior, sleep patterns, general health, interest in other activities and general well being and put a plan in place to overcome any adverse impact of technology or combat technology addiction as soon as possible.

Look before you leap into new technology. All of the kids (and many of the parents) want the latest and greatest tech tool the second it comes out. Companies are in intense competition to create the latest and greatest technology. Tech experts are always on the lookout for the latest and greatest tech to share with us. With technological advances, come greater, more useful features--many of which were only imagined in science fiction novels. Sometimes; however, there may be some hidden risks associated as well. Take some time to research any technology at hand, learn about the risks and rewards associated with the new device or gadget and even experience it first as a parent user before allowing your child to have access to it. Research how the technology works. Learn how it collects, process and stores data. Take a look at ways that an app or a piece of technology could be used for less than good purposes. Learn how to use a new piece of technology safely and securely before introducing it to your family.

Technology has opened the world to us in ways most of us could never have imagined. Technology serves extraordinary educational purposes and offers impressive conveniences to our society. Technology is a fantastic tool for families--when families remember to use it safely and correctly.

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