June is Internet Safety Month in Michigan. Which makes now the perfect time to talk about how influential the internet has been. It’s influenced us as parents, and our children, over the last year and a half. We have all been on our devices more than ever for our education, social interaction and entertainment. Before Covid, I traveled the state teaching parents about all of the apps our kids are using and how to keep them safe. We talked about how to limit screen time and how to find and utilize the parental controls on each device. Wow! The past year was crazy and I can’t help but wonder, did all of that get thrown out the window? Don’t worry if you’re the same, I’m here to help you with ways to keep your kids safe on the internet.
Screen Time Increased
Don’t be hard on yourself, it happened in my home too. I have a 12-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter whose screen time, just for entertainment purposes alone, probably tripled during quarantine. Like a lot of parents, I was working my full-time job from home while trying to keep my kids educated and occupied.
Now that it’s summer, our children will once again be using their devices more than normal. They want to stay in touch with friends and enjoy the thousands of apps that are available. Limiting screen time and learning about the apps they are using is important! Let’s be honest though, as parents it’s tough to stay on top of what they are doing online all the time.
How To Keep them Safe
There are plenty of programs and behavioral advice to follow when it comes to all of the different devices our children use. One of the simplest things you can do for your family is register their information on the Michigan Child Protection Registry. The State of Michigan offers a free program to stop adult advertisements from reaching our kids through e-mail and/or text, and very soon, certain apps. This Registry is an excellent resource for making sure our kids aren’t being served ads for alcohol, tobacco/vaping, online gambling, pornography or marijuana. It is a fact that all of these industries advertise to our kids through different internet outlets. Predators play where kids play.
The Michigan Children’s Protection Registry
The Michigan Children’s Protection Registry is something your family may have been introduced to at school. It only takes a minute to sign up and is one easy way parents can keep their children safe while using their devices. Just go to www.ProtectMIChild.com to sign you and your family up. It’s a very simple and quick process.
Have questions about the registry? Want to request an internet safety training for your parent meeting, church group, etc.? Please contact me, Alisha. I can be reached at [email protected]. I am always happy to help keep our kids safe while they use the internet.
Looking for ways to reduce the screen time this Summer? Head here for more ideas from our Lansing Team!