The purpose of this guide however is behavioural.
For many parents, the prospect of dealing with misbehaviour where there’s an element of technology involved can be daunting. This is not surprising since we are the first generation of parents dealing with such challenges and for most of us the technology, games and social networks our children use are a mystery.
To assist parents with the challenges of the digital age, we work with leading cyber safety educators, known as Cyber Experts, who are included in our platform and are available to you for settings, support and advice.
Our Cyber Experts tell us that breakdowns in behaviour can create opportunities for breakthroughs in your understanding and relationship with your child. Here’s some general advice on dealing with misbehaviour as suggested by our experts.
1. Take a breath
Don’t deal with misbehaviour in the heat of the moment. Take a breath, and find a quiet and suitable time to discuss the matter with your child. This has the added benefits of allowing them to think about what they’ve done and gives you time to gather your thoughts.
Remember how you deal with emotional moments will resonate with them. You are their role model.
2. Consider how this happened
Parents instinctively know how to keep their children physically safe. We protect them tightly when they are young. We then create soft ‘boundaries’ which we gradually relax over time as we encourage them to take measured risks and develop judgement and maturity.
Parents often forget that the online space is the same as the physical world. If you’ve provided your child no boundaries or monitoring from a young age it may not be surprising if they’re taking liberties now.
Boundaries and routines are critical and invaluable. Research on this is clear and unequivocal.
3. Have the talk
Encourage your children to express themselves. Let them vent if need be and resist the impulse to rage, to lecture and to be punitive.
The outcome of this ‘talk’ will be immeasurably better if they feel like they were listened to.
Remember misbehaviour is often the result of some other breakdown. The talk is your opportunity to connect and to address the underlying need.
4. Remember you’re the parent
It’s important to engage with your children, let them be heard and display empathy towards them. However, the fact of the matter is that you are the parent. At some stage it’s your way or the highway.
But remember the flow. Let them be heard first. Imposition of a misunderstood boundary and done in an emotional way can backfire.
5. Language is important
This may sound like retail training, however if you’ve ever spoke to a counsellor or a psychologist you’ll notice they’ll almost never use the word NO. There’s no going back from no.
Find ways to say no without saying no. “OK I’ll let you do stay up until 10:30 however we’ll turn off skype”.
It can often be a good idea to de-personalise failure through comparison. For example a “lady wouldn’t do that”, or “do you think Ronaldo would have stayed up all night?”
6. Technology free time
When you’re with your child and in particular when you’re talking about technology, turn off the phone and close the computer.
Make it obvious that for now they are your world and your focus.
Sign Up to a Cyber Expert
We are supported by a range of Cyber Experts who provide tailored control settings and advice for parents on managing cyber safety. They take the guesswork out of setting up your parental controls whilst also providing you with support. You can review and select from our team of Cyber Experts by logging into your account and clicking the Services option on the left hand navigation menu.