Ideas & Advice

Scary Mommy You Don’t Have to be Terrified of The Internet

Messenger Kids
Written by Publishing Team

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Raise your hand if you’ve been scrolling through parent groups on Facebook asking for advice on breastfeeding or how to get your kids to eat more vegetables. Or to get confirmation that you’re not the only one hiding in the bathroom so you can clear a few levels of a certain favorite digital candy game without interruption.

The internet has been a lifeline for many parents and caregivers. It’s how we connect with our community, and it helps with social isolation when we can’t meet in person. It allows us to socialize in a way that works for both introverts and extroverts alike, and it’s as easy as pulling our phone out of our pocket.

And yet, as amazing as social media and messaging apps are, we can’t help but worry about our kids being active on the internet. We grew up without social media (or the internet, for you Gen X’ers), so navigating the ever-changing space for our kids can feel like the Wild West. Yet just as you’ve found your online friendships as valuable as your in-person friendships, your children likely will too.

Teaching your kids to be good digital citizens doesn’t have to be scary. We’ve put together some tips that will help you and your children navigate safely online, as well as advice on what to do when they feel unsafe. And we’ve got the 411 on how tools like Messenger Kids offer the training wheels to start your kids’ digital journey — supervised by parents, of course.

Kindness and respect are just as important online

In order to help kids connect with friends and family in their parent-supervised app, Messenger Kids Pledge asks their users to be kind, be respectful, be safe and have fun. . These aren’t just guidelines for a particular app, but for the internet (and life) as a whole.

Interacting with others via a screen is different than in person, especially for young children. When looking at avatars, memes, and animated images, it’s easy to forget that there’s a real person on the other side of that screen.

Kindness means communicating with others, whether they are people your children already know or new friends, the way we want to be spoken to. Some kids love to video chat online, but the majority of them will interact via text. Even with the use of emojis and gifs, it’s not always easy to communicate tone online. This can easily lead to misunderstandings. Remind your children to ask if they are unsure of the tone of a message.

Discuss what kindness means to your family and how your children can make others feel welcome and comfortable when interacting with others online.

Respect other people’s time by being patient if a friend or family member doesn’t respond right away. Their friend may be having dinner or doing homework. Discuss with your kids the appropriate time to wait before texting their friend again.

What to do when children feel unsafe

While it’s not an easy conversation to have, talking to your kids about how to feel safe interacting with others online is key. Children are smart and will understand your desire for caution. Start where they are and allow them to ask questions about what’s safer and what’s not online.

Here are some guidelines you can adapt for your family:

  • Do not share personal information such as date of birth, address, phone numbers with people who are not on your approved list
  • Talk to a parent or guardian if someone says something that makes you feel uncomfortable or someone is being mean
  • Tell a parent if you witness online bullying

Feel free to add other guidelines that align with your family’s values ​​and review them periodically.

Messenger Kids connects friends in a safer environment

Now that we’ve taken away some of your fears, try Messenger Kids with your family. They’ve created a messaging app that gives parents control and visibility into your kids’ experience. Through the Parent Dashboard, you can manage their contact lists as well as their screen time on the app.

By using the app, kids commit to being kind, being respectful, being safe, and having fun. Messenger Kids has just launched Pledge Planets, an interactive, in-app activity that helps reinforce the four principles of engagement by empowering children to practice good digital citizenship.

Of course, fun remains an essential ingredient – all stickers, GIFs and filters are suitable for children. Now that you’ve started your family chat, who can send the best GIFs?

Messenger Kids is the video, voice and messaging app designed for kids to connect with family and friends. Learn more by exploring messengerkids.com.

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Publishing Team

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