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10 New Year's Resolutions for Digital Families
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10 New Year's Resolutions for Digital Families

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Check out this list of resolutions from uKnowKids (www.uknowkids.com) that you and your family can easily follow through with in 2014! Let's make 2014 the safest year yet for you and your children …

Check out this list of resolutions from uKnowKids (www.uknowkids.com) that you and your family can easily follow through with in 2014! Let's make 2014 the safest year yet for you and your children online and on the mobile phone.

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  • 1. NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR DIGITAL FAMILIES TIM WODA, INTERNET AND MOBILE SAFETY EXPERT, CO-FOUNDER OF UKNOW A publication by
  • 2. 1. Get Technologically Savvy You can't protect your family if you don't understand how the Internet, your computer, and your smart phone work. You need to master the basics of social media, particularly the sites your children use. Consider taking a class on digital technology or spending a day online reading up on the sites your children use the most.
  • 3. 2. Talk about the Rules A new year is a great time to revisit the rules you've established – or want to establish – for your family's digital usage. Consider discussing the following: • How and when your children can use social media • Rules for digital privacy and security • A discussion about the sort of monitoring you'll be doing to keep track of what your kids do online • Rules for communicating with people online, and in particular the risks of communicating with strangers
  • 4. 3. Establish a Technology Contract Children thrive in an environment with clear expectations and rules. A written contract allows you to outline specific rules for use of digital technology. This way, if your child breaks the rules, she can't protest that she didn't know or that you're being unfair. Be specific, and outline specific consequences if your child chooses to ignore the rules.
  • 5. 4. Monitor Your Child's Usage If you're not already monitoring your child's use of digital media, the new year is a great time to start. Try signing up for uKnowKids, which can keep you abreast of your child's social media and phone usage. But it's not enough to just use a program and forget about it. Check in with your child, periodically asking to see her social media pages and Internet usage history.
  • 6. 5. Limit Digital Access Technology can be a powerful tool, but it can also be a distraction from what really matters. There's no reason for your child to spend every waking second on her computer or smart phone, and doing so limits family time, opportunities to learn, and real social interaction. Establish clear limits on digital usage. Consider turning off your wireless connection or instituting an hour of family time each night.
  • 7. 6. Update Privacy Settings Social media sites such as Facebook frequently change their default privacy settings, which means that previously private posts can suddenly become public. Take a few minutes to check your child's privacy settings – as well as your own – and ensure they're not inadvertently sharing their entire lives with the whole world.
  • 8. 7. Back Up Your Files It's not particularly fun or glamorous, but backing up your files can save you lots of heartache. You can use a service such as Dropbox to keep access to your files in the digital cloud, or can transfer your documents and photos to a small flash drive. Computer problems are inevitable, and backing up your files saves you from the worst consequences of computer glitches.
  • 9. 8. Become Your Child's Friend • If you're not already friends with your child on social media sites, it's time to change that. This is one of the easiest ways to monitor your child's digital behavior because you'll receive updates when she posts a new status or photo. You'll gain plenty of insight into your child's life, and may gain new opportunities to talk with your child about topics that matter to him. • However, friending your child is not a replacement for a parental intelligence system since users can limit what certain people see -which means your child could be hiding just about everything they post on Facebook from you.
  • 10. 9. Change Passwords Changing your passwords every few months helps keep your data secure from hackers and other threats. Take a few minutes to change all of your passwords, and ask your child to do the same.
  • 11. 10. Teach Basic Computer Skills It's never too early to begin teaching your child how to use the computer. Try spending time as a family learning how to navigate social media sites and reading up on the latest privacy and safety recommendations. You might even consider taking a joint class, or signing your child up for a class in Internet usage or computer programming.
  • 12. For the full blog post, visit uKnowKids.