Taking A Temperature Of Your Family’s Digital Wellbeing

As we begin the new year it’s a good time to reflect on what’s been and what lies ahead in the digital lives of your family. It is generally agreed that rather than just focusing on ‘Cyber Safety’ we need to think more broadly about ‘Digital Health and Wellbeing’. According to Childnet: “Our overall wellbeing is determined by the physical and emotional experiences we have on a daily basis…with technology having a significant impact on our wellbeing generally.”

Digital Wellbeing is defined by Media Smarts as “making the best uses of digital technology and about integrating digital technology into family life in ways that are meaningful and promote individual family values.”

To make this term easier to understand, Common Sense Media breaks ‘Digital Wellbeing’ down to include the following:

  1. Tech companies that design products that feel less addictive, support ongoing research into the impacts of technology on children’s well-being, and value people over profit.
  2. Parents, teachers, and kids who are aware of the rewards and the risks of technology and practice healthy media habits together.
  3. We all have the tools to become good digital citizens, with access to high-quality information outside of our filter bubbles.

The main factor of ‘Digital Wellbeing’ however, is that you can manage it yourself by taking a simple temperature check of your family’s digital wellbeing.

The Bare Minimum You Should Do

Protect your family’s privacy.

Technology comes with privacy risks — but ignoring these risks is not the best solution. In fact, there are many other options.

As a family, you could simply begin inputting smart behaviours and practices into your daily routine. Common Sense Media in one of their articles lists the bare minimum things you should do to protect your family’s digital wellbeing:

  • Use strict privacy settings in apps and on websites

  • Enable two-factor authentication

  • Beware of phishing scams

  • Use antivirus protection

  • Don’t use unsecure Wi-Fi networks

  • Fine tune your browser settings

  • Turn off location services

  • Don’t let apps share data

  • Be careful with social logins

  • Do regular privacy checks

  • Use strong passwords and change them frequently

  • Tweak your home assistants

  • Cover your cameras — it’s not paranoia, even Mark Zuckerberg does it.

But remember, these practices work best when the whole family is on board and work together to minimise the privacy risks we can all be exposed to.

Media Smarts —The Digital Well-being of Canadian Families

Childnet International —Digital Wellbeing: Guidance for Parents

Family Insights —The Parents’ Survival Guide to Children, Technology and the Internet

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