Managing media in the family home

Develop good media habits at home when your children are young. 

Once you have children it is all about the firsts. Some that are good and some that are not so good. For instance the first smile, and the first words are all major milestones in your little one’s life that fill you with immense pride. However as they get older and more independent the firsts can take a surprising turn, first tantrum, first time uttering “I hate you” and first sleepover.  
First mobile phone. 
One of the major firsts facing parents now is the first mobile phone. While parents can welcome this new landmark it can be quite worrying. Of course a mobile phone allows you to know where your child is and communicate with them easily. 
To have rules or not to have rules. 
  • Some parents lay down strict guidelines for their children such as: 
  • Setting time restrictions on its usage ie. not after 8pm. Research has shown that bullying can occur between children later in the evenings. 
  • Putting phones etc away during mealtimes so the family can communicate without distractions.  
  • Not bringing phones to your bedroom. 
  • Always answering the phone if a parent is trying to reach them.  
  • Not using social media sites. 
  • Setting aside time where all members of the family are not using media which will encourage conversation. 
  • Allowing parents to see everything the phone if they asked to see it. 
Failing to lay down simple guidelines may get your child into hot water. 
Phone usage between young tweens can often lead to bullying or inappropriate messages being sent. It is advisable to check your young child's phone regularly to ensure this is not happening. 
It is important to explain to your child the need to recheck all texts before sending as once they are sent they cannot be 'unsent'. 
Young people sometimes don’t see the potential dark side of the internet and technology and some have had to learn the very hard way.  
Social media and posting photos. 
There are age requirements on some social media sites such as Facebook and snap chat. These restrictions are set for a reason and should be followed. It can be difficult for Parents to stop their children using these sites from a younger age however, it is advisable to ask yourself what can be done to discourage your child from using them. 
You often hear of stories where embarrassing photos end up on social media sites, this can cause a lot of distress for the subject of the photograph. It is important for parents to explain to their kids, the implications of posting photos online. Once they are posted, it is in the public domain no matter what your page privacy settings are.  
It is good practice to teach your children to get into a habit of asking others permission before they post a photo of them. In order to practice what you preach, likewise, don't forget to ask permission of your child before you do the same. I'm sure of a lot of us are guilty of not doing this! 
Managing media in the future. 
Technology changes rapidly and while a rule or agreement may work now it may not next year. The rapid change in the way we use these devices is evolving and we need to revise our guidelines regularly to keep us all safe from media destruction. 

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