Managing your family's time online

Posted on 11 May 2017

As a family it’s important to decide how you use technology.  Childnet have a variety of resources that can help your family to find a way of using technology that suites you all.

Recent research

Recent research carried out by Digital Awareness UK and the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference found that overuse of mobile phones by parents can disrupt family life. This research highlights the need for families to have open conversations about their time online and to decide on boundaries to their technology use that suit them as a family.

Family Agreement

A family agreement can be a great tool for any family wanting to start a conversation about how they use the internet and about the positive ways that technology can be used in their home. Such an agreement can also be used to set boundaries for children about internet use, not just at home but at school or at a friend’s house. Together as a family you can agree on how much time you each spend on the internet day-to-day, as well as discuss issues around staying safe online, gaming, and when it is acceptable to use technology. These promises are for the children to make to their parents but equally for the parents to make in return; making this agreement much more about having a two-way positive conversation for future online use.

Kate Edwards, an Education Officer at Childnet, explains how a family agreement can be beneficial to families who spend time online:

‘Throughout our educational sessions with children and parents we hear about an ever changing and varied internet usage and for many parents this can be a daunting prospect. It’s important to remember that apps, games, websites etc will always change but the core messages will remain the same. The family agreement is a great way to address these messages to ensure the safety of the whole family online whilst guiding them through important online safety conversations.’

Our family agreement advice provides a list of things to consider and some examples of how the promises could work for younger children, pre-teen and teenage as well as parents.   The family agreement template provides a framework that will help families set clear expectations for positive and safe internet use.  

Have a conversation

It’s really important to have an open and honest conversation with your children about what they like to do online. Maintaining this conversation is a simple and effective way to encourage them to come to you with any concerns they have online, and is a great way to help them to explore the best of the online world whilst also remaining safe. Our conversation starters can help you to start having this conversation within your family.

Use technology together as a family

There are many fun and great things that the internet can be used for. Why not use technology as a family together? Get your children to show you the apps and games that they like to use. This can be a great way to learn about how your family are using the internet in a fun and engaging way.

Other useful websites

Net Aware and Common Sense Media are great websites to go to and learn more about the games and apps that are out there. These website provide reviews from parents who have tested the apps as well advice for parents who may have safety concerns about specific apps.

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