How to talk to young kids about screen time safety

After the 'Momo challenge', how to navigate hoaxes and disturbing data online

HOUSTON - When you give kids gadgets like tablets, computers, cellphones or smart TV’s, you allow them to engage with the online world. But the World Wide Web is a big place, and sometimes it can even be scary for children.

“You are throwing your kids into the world and you are giving them access to it. Of course there are settings you provide, location services, privacy settings, you make sure that your gadgets don’t automatically update and clear your setting. Parents stay on top of it and you can’t remove the gadgets from your child, it is not realistic, but you have to stay on top of it,” said Rania Mankarious, executive director of Crime Stoppers of Houston, who stopped by our studio to share ways to start the conversation about screen time safety for the kiddos.

After the reports of alleged disturbing videos found on YouTube Kids and the Momo challenge scare, parents are more interested than ever in finding out ways to protect kids from watching disturbing videos online. And even though the Momo challenge ended up being a hoax, it is important to talk to your kids about these risks and the disturbing data that are out there in the online world.

“Whether or not is a hoax, it’s out there now. And kids, young kids, see that image one time and the conversation that this scary image wants you to hurt yourself, and now that’s the thing we have to address. It doesn’t matter what the intent was when it was created,” said Mankarious.

“Even when your child is dealing with a device made for children, parents have a due diligence, they have a responsibility to stay ahead of the curve, to understand what the rumors are, to talk to the kids about these rumors and debunk them together,” she recommends.

To see all tips, watch the video above.


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