Useful tips, trends, and conversation starters
The internet continues to shape our world in ways that we can barely keep up with as parents, and it’s even more of a challenge when we have kids. We can try our best to prepare our children, but at some point they’ll start spending time online independently, and it’s best to be aware of how kids of all ages are using the internet today. This article will help clarify the relationship between kids and the internet today, identify contemporary internet trends that affect children, provide internet safety tips for kids and teens, and provide insights on how we can prepare our kids for the digital challenges of tomorrow.
How kids use the internet in 2022
- Content consumption
The most obvious online activity for kids of all ages is watching and consuming content, whether that’s in the form of streaming video, written content, or interactive content like games.
- Content creation
Kids are also beginning to create content at earlier ages as well, as content creation platforms become nimbler and easier to use. Shooting and editing videos is built into apps in a way that you can make creative videos without any prior experience or professional tools.
As kids age into adolescence and their teen years, their messaging activity also picks up. Many popular apps offer content consumption, content creation, and messaging capabilities in one, so it’s not as simple as labeling one app a messaging app and another a streaming app. They’re often combinations of all three.
2022 internet trends
- AR and VR activities
The most obvious emerging internet trend is the “metaverse,” the network of virtual worlds that users connect to with VR tools like goggles and controllers. AR is also still trending, as the technology gets adopted for professional and educational purposes.
- Everyday content creation and sharing
Many of the most popular apps for young users are centered around content, including TikTok and Twitch, where 28% of users are under 18 and 41% of users are under 24, respectively. Creating and sharing video content is a common activity that will continue to increase in popularity.
- Changing social media trends
What we can’t predict quite as easily is the rapid turnaround of social media trends on the most popular apps. When it comes to kids and internet use, there’s only so much we can predict based on the past – new trends can emerge from unexpected and surprising sources so it’s best to keep a birds eye view of these apps, but not get overwhelmed by the number of weekly or monthly trends. You may not know exactly where kids adopted new slang terms and phrases, for example, but it won’t shock you either.
Internet safety for kids
There’s certainly a lot to keep up with, so it’s important to consider how to talk to your child about internet safety, and ask questions like what are the dangers of the internet for kids, rather than how do I keep my child off the internet. We’ll start with our top 5 internet safety tips for kids.
- Check which online media is appropriate for your kids at certain ages
- Curate high quality content based on their age
- Set child-safety restrictions on devices
- Start the conversation about internet safety early with clear boundaries
- Create a running list of your child’s questions and concerns about things they see online
Internet safety for teens
As kids get older and their internet horizons broaden, we recommend following up the previous actions with additional age-appropriate activities.
- Set healthy boundaries you mutually agree on
- Watch for warning signs about excessive or inappropriate internet usage like unusual behavior or fatigue
- Guard personal information and privacy based on the boundaries you agreed upon
- Create a running list of your teen’s questions and concerns about things they see online
- Continue the conversation about internet safety with regularly scheduled talks a few times a year
Early internet usage and digital preparedness
All of the internet safety tips above are geared towards digital preparedness. While we can’t always predict how emerging technology will affect our world, we can set up healthy internet usage habits and best practices that can set our kids up for success no matter what happens next.
- Early conversations about online media help develop critical thinking about what’s real and fake online
- Spotting warning signs means getting your kids the help they need before serious problems develop
- Regular engagement with kids about the internet makes the topic a norm, and not a novelty
- Adoption of emerging tech helps kids stay ready for school and career opportunities that depend on that tech
- A healthy approach to content and messaging online helps kids stay connected to their friends and peers
When it comes time to have a conversation with your little ones or teens about internet safety and usage in general, you could consider any of these questions as starting points.
- What’s your favorite show that you watch online?
- What’s the last game you enjoyed playing online?
- Who do you love messaging the most?
- Which 3-5 content creators do you enjoy watching the most?
- What kind of content do you wish you could get more of?
- If you could change one thing about what you see online, what would it be?
- Which TikTok trends did you think were the most fun this year?
- Has anyone you didn’t know messaged you in the last 6 months?
- Have you felt pressured to do anything you didn’t want to do online?
- Have you shared any personal information with anyone you didn’t know online?
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