Starting positive digital habits young

An example of the family tech agreement.

By Danielle Galvin

Parents should develop a family tech agreement as a family when their children turn 3, the eSafety Commissioner says.

A family tech agreement is a set of rules about how digital devices are used in the home.

The idea is for all family members to agree to it, and keep it on the fridge or somewhere visible.

“The reality is children are on devices from a younger age – they’re learning to swipe before they take their first steps,” eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, said.

“These rules not only provide parents with tools to help keep their children safer online, they encourage kindness when using technology and help limit potential ‘tech tantrums’.

“The Family Tech Agreement makes it easier for parents and carers to set boundaries around the use of tablets, TVs, computers and gaming consoles in the home.

“Family discussions around the agreement can also help build a young child’s understanding of networked technologies and set good online habits early in life.”

Rules include asking before using a device or playing a new game online, only using devices in shared spaces of the home and only talking to people you know online.

ABC Playschool favourites Big Ted, Jemima and friends are heading up the new campaign, and feature in the tech agreement designed especially for young children.

“Young children are surrounded by technology, so with the help of the Play School toys (trusted friends of our audience) we’re giving them the best tools to navigate the digital world to ensure they have a safe and positive experience online,” Amanda Isdale, ABC Children’s Development and Co-Production Manager, said.

Ms Inman Grant said another thing to consider is exploring the internet together.

“It’s really important for parents and carers to model good digital behaviour in order for their children to effectively develop good online habits,” she said.

“We encourage parents and carers to build these good habits together — deciding on the right amount of screen time and setting clear rules is a great example.

“By including young children in decision making will help them think critically about the content they watch and how they spend their time online.”

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