“How Do I Talk to My Kids about Safe Media Use?” Ensign, August 2020
Please come to me with any questions, even if they feel weird or uncomfortable to talk about. You won’t get in trouble for asking questions.
Did you see any pictures or videos lately that you had questions about? It’s good for us to talk about them, even if you think I won’t like them.
Do you have any questions about bodies or what bodies do? It’s natural to feel curious about our bodies.
Has anyone online ever asked for your address, or other personal information? Always check with me if someone asks you for this kind of information. We need to be extra careful about what we share online.
Have you seen mean comments online about anyone? We should treat people kindly and stick up for them online, like we would in person.
What should you do if something online makes you uncomfortable? (This might be a good time to come up with a family turn-away plan, if you don’t already have one. See the first bullet in “5 Topics for Longer Conversations.”)
What should your family do when they encounter bad media? One family taught their children the phrase “crash and tell.” This meant the children were to turn off, or crash, the device and tell an adult right away if something bad showed up.
What websites and media do your children enjoy using and why? Your interest will help keep lines of communication open.
How could your family use media to become closer? You could make a list of ideas—like video-chatting with a relative or adding stories and pictures to FamilySearch.org—and pick one thing to try each week.
How do your children’s friends use media? Talk about how others may have different standards for what they view. Help your children practice different ways to say “No, thanks” if friends offer something uncomfortable.
Some children may have already become entangled in bad media, like pornography, by the time they talk with us about it. Our first priority should be to reassure them that they are still loved! Then we can help them connect with the emotional, spiritual, and professional resources they need to get back to healthy media use. (For help in that situation, see the “Additional Helpful Resources.”)
Play together! Do something fun! Physical activities help children limit media overuse and replace isolating habits with relationships.
Spend time together using media in healthy ways—like playing a video game as a family or watching the new Book of Mormon videos.
Decorate a poster together and write your family’s media rules on it, then hang it somewhere everyone can see.
Read and talk about articles from the Friend and New Era about media use.