As we gear up for the holiday season, many parents will be looking to buy technology for their children as presents! Titania Jordan, Chief Parent Officer of Bark Technologies co-author of the new book, Parenting in a Tech World lets you know some tips on parenting in a tech world with confidence.
"Children are spending upwards of eight hours a day on connected devices and accounts, and much like we wouldn't send them out into the neighborhood on a bicycle without a helmet, we can't send them into the digital world without education and monitoring solutions to help keep them safer online," explained Jordan. "It only takes a matter of seconds, literal seconds for a child to encounter something that they can never unsee and kids as young as toddlers before they can walk and talk, just playing on the family iPad can experience this all the way up to very savvy teenagers."
Jordan says one of the things parents can do is use the free parental controls that some of the devices come with, such as Apple Screen Time which helps filter the content your child encounters. She says to take it a step further, a parent can get Bark Technologies and receive alerts when your child has encountered things like cyber bullying, sexual content, online predators and mental health issues.
"Not only will bark send you a text or email with the problem and what happened," she said. "Bark will also give you best recommended next steps for how to address these really tough topics with your children."
The easiest way to get started with Bark is to click here and figure out where the problem is, is it your child's smartphone? A gaming console? What do you need managed and protected? All of those things can be figured out through the site.
Jordan says they've seen a 23 percent increase in the alerts they've sent around online production just this year alone.
She says that if a child has been victimized, the most important thing a parent can do is make sure the child knows it's not their fault and they are not alone.
"It's not their fault because they are a child, children make mistakes. And you as the parent or caregiver, you need to serve as their safe place, no matter what good or bad choices they have made, you're there to navigate it with them," she explains. "Let them know that you love them unconditionally and then finally you've got to document what would happen and take screenshots, save that evidence that you can escalate it to law enforcement so they can go after the bad people and then flag it to the social media platforms so they can block those people from communicating with other children."
If any parents are really struggling, especially right now with the meeting community, Jordan suggests joining this Facebook group here. Parenting in a Tech World is a group of over 90,000 parents that are navigating these issues in real time.