Teaching Your Children to Live with Technology
Embracing the Ever-Changing Face of Technology
With the Holidays rapidly approaching, the question regarding teens and technology comes up far more often. Parents want to know not only how to accommodate the additional data usage but also how to help keep their teens safe while online.
Ever child matures at a different rate so it is impossible to provide a carte-blanche response to the question; "what age you should I introduce my child to the Internet or social media", though there are several points to consider:
FACT #1: Teens will always use the newest technologies available to connect with each other.
FACT #2: Caring adults will always be concerned about the newest technologies.
Today, over 90% of teenagers are online (and that number's not going down).
When it comes to social media, 50% of all teenagers log on at least once a day, with 22% logging on more than 10 times a day.
We, like our parents AND their parents before them, are worried about the effect that technology is having on the development and safety of our kids.
We all would probably agree that wishful thinking is not a parenting strategy, but what is?
How can you help your teen be responsible with their online time, when they've grown up constantly surrounded by and using the latest technology?
In addition, how can you help your teen become a responsible AND mature digital citizen?
Here are my suggestions PLUS an amazing and affordable piece of technology that helps you implement these rules without having to be "the bad guy." Meet CIRCLE. Though we don’t sell CIRCLE, I have utilized it many times in our residential solutions.
Though this sorta “technology” has existed in some form for years now, it was cumbersome, very complicated to implement and manage and often after spending hundreds of dollars, still left early-adopters asking for more. Someone has finally created a simple and inexpensive solution for under $100.00 that I can suggest it to all the parents, client or not.
The 5 Rules for Teaching Your Teen to Live with Technology Responsibly
Rule #1: Set Screen Time Limits
Decide IN ADVANCE how much time your kids get to spend online and stick to it. Set daily time limits by app, platform and category, OR for the day as a whole. CIRCLE will keep track of how long your kids spend on certain platforms, apps, or categories and then shuts it down. (Example: Max of 30-minutes of Minecraft and 30-minutes of Netflix) It tracks time limits across ALL devices, so no more arguing about screen time. Hooray!
Rule #2: Inspect What You Expect
Manually sifting through hundreds of your kid's texts, snaps, messages and web visits is a daunting and thankless task. CIRCLE tracks where they spend their time online so you can stay informed. BTW: I suggest you're upfront with your kid that you'll be snooping (after all you want them to be upfront with you right?) "Just so you know...because I am your parent and I care about you - I reserve the right to review your activity."
Rule #3: Give Their Devices a "Bedtime"
If they go to bed at 10pm, so should their phone. Use CIRCLE to define a time when the devices will temporarily disconnect from the Internet, and a "wake-up" time, for when the devices will reconnect.
Rule #4: Give Freedom Within Limits
Give your kid freedom to explore WITH boundaries to protect. Don't just "hope" that your kid won't end up on the unsavory parts of the internet. Use CIRCLE to set individual filters for each kid, to match their age, interests, and what's appropriate. These filters come defaulted with settings designed for that age group, but can be easily customized.
Rule #5: When Needed PAUSE The Internet
Dinner time? Homework time? Chore time? Using CIRCLE, you actually get a pause button for the internet. Pause one of your kids because it's time for homework or because it's family game night. No more threatening to take devices away. Just press that pause button.
Believe it or not, technology is a frustrating and beautiful vehicle to TEACH our children discipline and self-governance.
Technology is neither good nor evil. It is neutral. Like wood, or steel, it's a resource. It's a resource that can be used for good or bad. It's up to each of us as individuals how we utilize technology.
While not as cool as self-driving cars, we can leverage technology to TEACH our children boundaries, self-governance, and how to appropriately utilize something without abusing it. Imagine that, a life-skill that will serve our children over their entire life.
Grab yourself a CIRCLE to make life easier AND teach your children a few important life-lessons in the process. You've got this.
Have more questions about integrating technology, networking and the Internet in your home? Call us today at 214-396-5858.