Highly Useful Guidelines For High Tech Kids
There’s no doubt technology is an integral part of life, and that’s not all bad. After all, computers can be a gateway to educational opportunities and cell phones are a great way to stay in touch with your busy teen. But you know as well as I do that kids often get wrapped up in Internet surfing, texting, social networking, and gaming. Even adults can have a hard time setting their own limits or keeping track of the time they spend using technology.
With a little parental supervision and some clear limits, parents can help their children make safe, healthy choices when it comes to using technology. Here are a few ideas:
- The easiest way to monitor what your kids are doing on the computer is to keep it in a common area of the home, for example, the family room, rather than letting kids have one in their rooms.
- Have open honest communication with your child about topics they are to stay away from on the Internet (pornography, sex, drugs, etc.) and let them know that you plan to periodically review Internet history.
- Use Internet filters, but don’t rely on them. They don’t catch everything, and resourceful kids can find their way around them.
- Make sure to have a conversation with your kids about staying safe and protecting their identity and location, especially when chatting with people they may not know.
- Require your teen to pay their fair share of the cell phone or Internet bill as a way to encourage responsible behavior.
- Discuss cell phone etiquette with your teen. Answering your phone or texting while in the middle of a conversation or during a meal is just rude!
- Define appropriate times for using technology, and conversely, those times when technology should be parked – when driving, at school, during meals, at church, after a particular time of night. Make sure you have determined appropriate consequences if these limits are crossed.
- Create a house rule that homework and household chores must be completed before “screen time”.
- Ensure that your kids know the dangers and laws against viewing or sending pornography, and clearly lay out the consequences of these actions, which should include reporting illegal activity to the police.
- Model good behavior for your kids. For example, turn off your own cell phone during meal time and make it a point to limit your own leisure time on the computer. Kids learn more from what they see than what they hear.