Different types of online guardians

There are many ways of using the internet and social media. Kids and grown-ups use them in different ways and it’s good to be aware of that.

We’ve come up with three types of online parents. Which one do you resemble the most?

THE “DON’T BE THERE ALL DAY” PARENT

You’re on Facebook, you have a smartphone and you sometimes play a game to pass the time. You think it’s good that your kid gets to know the internet – you just don’t want them to be there all day!

If the time spent on the internet becomes a problem, ask your kid what they do online. Are they gaming, watching videos or chatting with friends? Or doing school work?

Maybe chatting with a friend in a different city is not such a bad evening activity after all. But then again – maybe talking to the neighbour online is just silly and you should encourage your kid to step outside!

Either way, there are many activities online and it’s a good idea to discuss with your kid how much time can be spent on them.

Maybe chatting with a friend is not so a bad after all?

THE “INTERNET IS NOT FOR ME” PARENT

Let’s say it like it is: You think lots of things make more sense than sitting at the computer. You’re not very much into social media and rarely surf the internet for fun.

The next time your kid talks about something they saw online, ask them to walk you through the services they use. Ask questions along the way (What’s the best thing on this site? What do you do if you see something inappropriate?) and show that you care.

A lot of kids make friends online, and arguments with those friends are just as real as with the friends they see at school – and you can help with that even if you’re not a fan of the internet.

THE “I LIVE AND BREATHE SOCIAL MEDIA” PARENT

You’ve already written a couple of tweets while reading this. Your top-notch smartphone is beeping all the time for new notifications. You love social media so much that you’ve introduced your kid to age-appropriate services even before they asked for it.

What’s chrystal clear to you is not necessarily obvious for your kid. You have a great opportunity to teach your kid about the internet by going through things together. Take a look at forum or chat messages – even those made by trolls – and ask your kid why the writer might have wanted to publish such a thing.

Your kid learns to recognize different intentions that people have online and you get to see what the tone of voice is in your kid’s favourite website.

You have a great opportunity to teach your kid.

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About the author:

Silja Nielsen, watAgame

Silja Nielsen is Head of Community and Safety at watAgame. She has been a watAgamer since 2010. Silja has a master’s degree in Media Studies and is interested in privacy, online behaviour and online communities.