Please share this message, send it to your child’s school PTA, grandparents, babysitters and everyone else you know to help our kids and educate others about technology.
I am not an expert, I am just giving you my personal experience with technology and MY kids. There are boundaries we have already set because of mistakes we have made. Over the summer my friend and I were having a conversation about technology and kids. We decided that some parents may not realize that devices are easy to restrict, so I thought I would share some suggestions based on one of my girls stumbling across some inappropriate content.
Years ago Camryn was on YouTube and I typed in Diego for her. To my surprise it was in fact Diego, but someone had done a voiceover of the character and the episode was littered with cruse words. Thank God I was in the room, able to grab the device and then set out on a personal mission to learn how to prevent this from happening again.
Here are some of my tips and things that have worked for my family of Elementary aged kids.
1. Click on Settings
2. Click on General
3. Click on Restrictions
4. Enter a Passcode(that your child won’t be able to figure out ?)
5. Turn off Safari… If kids need to look up content on the Internet, you can easily turn it back on while you are around.
6. Turn off the iTunes Store.
7. Turn off Installing Apps
8. Change Music, Podcasts & News to Clean
9. Change Movies to PG
10. Change TV Shows to TV-PG
11. Change Books to Restricted
12. Change Apps to the appropriate age.
13. Change Websites to Restricted so when they are on the Internet they don’t stubble upon the wrong content.
14. Delete YouTube— YouTube is one of the easiest sites to find ANYTHING that young kids should not be watching. YouTube Kids may not be as filtered as you think.
15. Restrict the time on devices. My kids are animals if they are on them too long and have given us a hard time when we try to take them away.
16. When you are out to dinner as a family, spend family time together. Our rule is if we are paying, you are talking to us!! We even at times avoid restaurants that have gaming systems available at the table. Again, family time is precious and Dave and I can talk privately FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES. Lord help me!!
Kids are going to grow up so soon and if we restrict devices to the best of our ability we can protect our kids from growing up too quickly. I understand that some kids need to bring phones to school, but those unrestricted phones end up on busses and in minutes the whole bus can receive an unnecessary education.
Call me a buzz kill, call me bossy, call me whatever… I know technology is awesome, but our kids innocence is way more valuable. I know at one point I can’t hover over everything they do, but I emphatically know that I will check my middle schoolers and high schoolers phones, put Internet safe guards on computers, phones and tablets as long as they are living with me.
As a high school teacher, the majority of our issues at school are because of phones and if more parents would check phones, take phones away as punishment, etc… we could avoid a lot of recent issues that our staff has been noticing because of technology.
Also, put your phones away. If your kids see you on it all the time, they will model that behavior. Also if they see you checking your phone at red lights, you may be giving mixed messages about texting and driving to your future drivers.
Let’s work together to make our unsafe world a little safer and work together to protect our kids. This isn’t hovering in my house, this is parenting.