What ever happened to eating dinner around the family dining room table together? Does your family still do this? Our family tends to let our family dinners lapse a bit when we are on school holidays, but we go back to regular family dinner table gatherings once back into the routine of school and work. We find, it can either be a disaster with everyone fighting, or a great way to open up some conversations that adds to the richness of our family and helps all of us to understand each other and our lives a little better.
Why am I talking about Family Dinners?
One of the way’s parents can learn about cyber safety is by learning about it from their own children. Parents need to know what their children are doing online in order to be able to supervise them effectively. Parents still need education and to keep up to date with new apps and technology independent of their children, but being able to discuss issues with our children around apps and social media and gaming is of utmost importance to be able to help our kids stay safe online.
Kids Are The Experts!
Yes, kids are amazing on technology, but we need to remember they are still kids and still need adult supervision and safety nets around their online world, they might be tech savvy but not tech street smart. Kids also use the internet and technology very differently to adults. It is parents responsibility to understand these differences.
How To Facilitate “Open Communication”
Open communication means safe conversations. Conversations, where both kids and adults are able to share ideas in an environment of calmness, trust and safety. It doesn’t have to mean long talks or confronting conversations, a “little a lot” is the key. And a family dinner in pleasant surroundings without phones or screens at the table for a short time might just break some ice, or be enough to initiate some conversations that are meaningful around technology and gaming.
Teens can find it easier to talk whilst spending time doing something else with you. Find something you can do with your teen that allows time for conversations around their digital life. Our family has regular family meals together, sometimes they only last 20 mins, and we also like to go on walks or bike rides together, usually ending up at a local cafe which helps gives the kids an extra incentive to accompany us. Keeping these family times regular means that it becomes quite routine and normal, and makes open communication more likely to occur.
Sharing online content and spending time with your child playing their games and watching their YouTube videos can also be a great way to engage with them whilst finding out more about their online world.
How does your family initiate “Open Communications” Let us know in the comments!