NiteOwl Pediatrics exists so parents have a convenient resource for their After Hours Pediatric Urgent Care Chattanooga needs, but unfortunately, the risks kids face today go far beyond runny noses, stomach bugs, or scrapes on the knee.

Parents need a mindful attitude about the potentially life threatening hazards that can accompany long days this summer. We all know that illnesses or injuries can happen when children get active outdoors, but they may also face unexpected risks as they spend more time online, some loosely supervised by a sibling or other secondary guardian while parents are at work.

Why is Online Safety Important?

The Internet can take us to amazing places and answer all of our questions in seconds. Need to find out our pediatrics urgent care hours Chattanooga? You can find out in just a few keystrokes. But the Cyber-world also poses dangers to children and grown-ups alike. Parents must take a pro-active role in mitigating these hazards. The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) recommends some tips for parents:

Set Online Safety Ground Rules

Explain your family’s values openly and directly so children know to avoid the darkest aspects of the Internet. Create awareness of the three P’s in particular (porn, predators, and pedophiles) and how you, as a family, do not tolerate visiting age-inappropriate websites or allowing situations in which strangers might seek to cause them harm. If a child violates the ground rules, take away Internet privileges for some period of time. This may upset them, but a measured amount of tough love is preferable to rushing a child to the emergency room due to an attempted suicide caused by cyber-bullying or needing medical attention after sneaking out to meet someone who deceives them about having their best interests in mind.

Empower Yourself as a Digital Parent

Take Advantage of Parental Controls on phones, tablets, and game consoles. Activate safety settings on operating systems, search engines, and games. Educate yourself by searching online for anything you don’t understand and trying out the games, apps, and websites for yourself. Go online with your kids and explore what they do. Monitor their use and follow them on social media while respecting their privacy.

Limit Screen Time for Healthy Children

This summer, your children need to spend time enjoying the outdoors and socializing with friends in real life. Without supervision, kids might not make the best choices about when to unplug, so encourage them to disconnect from pixels on screens and experience life’s moments without having to document them online. Studies suggest that kids who spend less time online feel happier generally.

Be a Good Role Model for Internet Safety

Emphasize positive ways people use the Internet and empower your child to take steps to spread positive messages. When properly used, online content can be very uplifting and inspirational. Educate kids that we each have rights and responsibilities as good digital citizens. Curb your own bad habits online and use this opportunity to learn from what your children enjoy online.

Turn Online Negatives into Positives

Sadly, even with safeguards and clearly expressing your rules and values to your children, upsetting things may happen. Take advantage of teachable moments to help children develop critical thinking skills so they know how to cope with hate-filled speech, cyber-bullying, or websites that may look legitimate but are actually untrustworthy.

The challenges of our digital world can seem overwhelming, but these tips can arm parents with actions to address online dangers. If this summer does throw some of the more conventional yet unexpected accidents or illnesses at your kids and they end up needing 24 hour pediatric urgent care in Chattanooga, NiteOwl Pediatrics stands ready to help them get well.

To learn more about parenting kids in this tech-savvy time, visit Family Online Safety Institute.

Copyright: dolgachov / 123RF Stock Photo

Written by Steven Stiefel