5 Digital New Year’s Resolutions For Parents

McAfee recently distributed a press release and the line that caught my eye was, “Now is the time for parents to model good behavior and etiquette.”  it This wasn’t something you’d normally expect to see from a major security company, so intrigued, I read on.

Instruction in etiquette and good behavior is something we could all probably use a little more of. And when I read McAfee’s “5 New Year’s Resolutions,” I realized that even though I have young children, I ought to brush up on some digital etiquette myself. It’s not too late to do your resolutions or start news ones or just brush up on your online safety.

McAfee suggests that parents begin the New Year with resolutions that address their own behavior, so they can model best practices for kids and teens:

When I’m with my children, I pledge not to spend more than 10% of the time on my phone or computer.
Adults spend about 3.5 hours day perusing the Internet or staring at their cell phone each day, according to estimates from eMarketer. This year, make a promise to give your full attention to your children, and develop a plan to limit your use of electronic devices.

I will not communicate with my children via text when they are in the house.
One downside of technology is that fewer people actually speak to one another. A Kaiser study found that children in grades 7-12 spend an average of 1.5 hours a day sending or receiving texts.

I will not give my child access to an Internet browser on a smartphone or tablet that is not safe for them to use.
It’s important for parents to shield children from cyber-danger by filtering explicit content on smartphones and tablets via applications such as McAfee Family Protection or McAfee Safe Eyessoftware. This software can prevent children from establishing or accessing social networking accounts, limit Internet use, and block inappropriate websites or messenger chats.

I will be prepared to have a “texting intervention” if my teen’s thumbs begin to look like tiny body-builders.
Texting may be a quick and easy way to interact with others, but the impersonal nature of the communication and frequency of use can cause problems.

I will have “the talk” with my kids, to discuss what they are doing and with whom they are connecting online.
Children often lack an understanding of online dangers, or they may lack the maturity to make appropriate decisions.

By modeling good behavior and ensuring that children’s experiences on Internet-connected devices is a safe and healthy one, parents can ensure a 2012 that is free of digital drama.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Evangelist to McAfee. See him discussing identity theft on YouTube.(Disclosures)

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