Singer and mum Emma Bunton has revealed her family rules for using the internet and tech at her home with husband Jade Jones and their two children Beau and Tate. New research commissioned by Vodafone in partnership with YouGov revealed that 54% of parents say they aren’t aware of what their children are doing online. Almost four in 10 parents said they’ve never been given advice on their children’s online behaviour and the same percentage of parents also worry that their kids hide online activity from them – this rises to 52% for parents of older children aged 12 to 16.
Emma has launched Vodafone's Digital Family Pledge, which is an online tool that helps families create tech ground rules together – covering everything from devices at the dinner table to using social media, with all family members agreeing to stick to it.
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The mother-of-two said of her own family: "The kids are at that age where they want to play with new apps and games and are getting more interested in social media. At the end of the day, it’s about being open and finding the right balance and the Pledge is a great way to help families do this.”
Emma shared her top tips on making it work:
1. Set ground rules
"My first tip would be to set ground rules as a family. Using the pledge helped us to work as a family to decide what the rules should be together, so we weren’t just dictating them to Beau and Tate. It also got me and my partner, Jade, to think about our own habits."
2. Use tech together
"Instead of worrying so much about what our kids are doing online we now try to get involved. It’s impossible to be there all the time, but we might watch YouTube videos together or Jade and Beau will game online."
3. Quality over quantity
"I used to think that it was all about managing the time the kids spent online. But I’ve realised it’s more important to focus on what they’re doing online rather than the exact amount of time spent. If they’re watching and playing the right stuff, it can be really educational and beneficial to their development."
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4. Lead by example
"It’s not just about the children, I realise that Jade and I are guilty of sneaking a look at our phones at the table or getting distracted by work emails." Emma said herself and Jade are now setting themselves limits too.
5. Be kind online
"Being in the spotlight, I’ve had plenty of experience with people being unkind online and I’ve worried about what Beau and Tate see there. My final tip is to remind everyone that they need to think about what they say online remember that there’s a person at the other end of the screen who might be upset by unkind comments."
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