Supporting young people with digital wellbeing this summer

19 Aug 2021 UK SIC

Your child’s digital wellbeing refers to how being online affects their mood, emotions, and safety. Lots of different parts of life online can affect digital wellbeing such as screen time, gaming, and online relationships. Even though the summer and the long break can be great, there are some challenges around young people’s digital wellbeing which may arise.

This blog gives parents and carers practical tips and advice for supporting young people to stay happy and safe online this summer.

Our Digital Wellbeing Tips

  • Talk to your child about how being online makes them feel.
    Communicating with your child about their online lives is key. It is useful to recognise and talk about the positive aspects of the internet, whilst also discussing what to do if they are feeling pressured or unhappy online.
    It’s also important to remind your child that they can always come talk to you about anything, and to reiterate that you won’t get mad or judge them.
    Our resource, let’s talk about life online, can help you start and manage these conversations.
  • Help your child to have a healthy balance and enjoy time offline too.
    Over summer, young people have lots of spare time and they may spend longer online. Encourage them to enjoy time offline as well as online, you could suggest activities like exercise, getting outside on a walk, reading a book or spending time with friends and family where possible.
  • Encourage your child to know the warning signs.
    Help your child to recognise when they have been online too long. This can include sore eyes or necks, the device being hot or low on battery, or others telling them they are spending too much time on their screens. Remind them to take regular breaks, especially if they are feeling pressured or down online.
  • Set boundaries and use wellbeing tools together.
    Most devices have a digital wellbeing section and looking at this together with young people can help them to understand and manage how they are spending their time online. You can also set screen time limits or turn off read receipts so that young people feel less pressured to reply quickly.
    Many households set boundaries around internet use for example, limiting screen time in the hour before bedtime.  Our family agreement template can help with agreeing these boundaries and making them clear.
  • Help your child to stay critical online.
    Remind young people to check information in more than one place and talk to someone they trust if something doesn’t seem quite right. It’s also worth reminding them that some content online is edited and can make people’s lives look more fun and exciting than they really are.
    Make sure that your child knows that they should never share personal information, meet up with or share pictures or videos with someone they only know online. It’s important that they know to talk to you if this happens.
    If you are at all worried about anyone your child is talking to online, it’s important to report it to CEOP.

Digital wellbeing can feel like a big topic to manage but you don’t need to be an internet expert to support your child online. Open and honest communication with your child about their online lives is the most important thing. Remember, you know your child the best and there is lots of support out there for anything you’re not sure of.

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