The world is so different from when we were kids. Kids these days are technologically savvy. They often have multiple devices and they learn to use them at a young age.
In fact, technology is playing an ever-increasing role in our lives, with the majority of children receiving their first smart phone between the ages of 8 and 12. While 79 percent of families have technology agreements with their children, only 6 percent of those are written. – Commissioned study conducted by ResearchNow on behalf of LifeLock, adults 18 and older were surveyed online between July 20-24, 2015
This year, as part of our homeschooling, we purchased laptops for Hannah and Laura to use for school. They also each have iPods and tablets as well. They do not have phones and it will probably be quite a long time before they do!
I’ve always been particular about what my kids watch. We don’t have cable or dish television in our home. We do watch movies and we have our favorite channels on YouTube that we like to watch every now and then.
Hannah, 14 years old, and Laura, 12 years old, both have their own channels on YouTube where they do book reviews, toy reviews, game reviews, craft tutorials, and more. They also have Instagram accounts. This year, I let Hannah get a Facebook account since she had turned 14 years old with the stipulation that her account is private and she can only have friends on Facebook that we personally know.
It’s important to talk to your kids about the potential dangers they could face online and to lay out the ground rules early on – but if you haven’t had these chats with your kids, there’s no time like the present!
LifeLock, Inc., and National PTA® have launched a new, free resource for families that helps parents have clear conversations with their children about using technology and agree on ground rules together. Called The Smart Talk, this digital tool is designed to empower families to make smarter, safer choices online and help build the next generation of digital citizens.
The Smart Talk
I used The Smart Talk digital tool with my girls and found the resource to simple to use – always a plus! It also helped guide the discussion so that I didn’t forget to go over any issues like:
- never give out personal information
- how sometimes kids will send or post inappropriate pictures of themselves or others
- and lots more!
The Smart Talk provides an interactive experience that guides kids and parents through a series of questions and conversations about topics such as safety and privacy, screen time, social media, apps and downloads, texting and calling, reputation and respect, and online videos and cameras. It opens the door to talk about all these issues!
And, it really takes away the confusion and worry about whether you’ve covered everything with your kids! After agreeing on healthy limits together, a personalized, official family agreement can be stored on the computer or printed and posted at home. You could even print the contract out and place it in your Household Notebook in the family section.
You also get to determine how often you want to revisit your agreement for a check-up! I chose once every six months with the understanding that if there are any issues that arise we will do it again sooner. Moms, you should be checking your child’s devices on a regular basis for anything that might concern you. That’s what I do!
Healthy limits for online use are important for ourselves and for our kids. No one needs to be looking at their iPod or smartphone all day long. According to the Pew Research Center, kids are spending countless hours using devices and on the Internet- 92 percent of teens report going online daily, with 24 percent of those teens going online “almost constantly.” – Pew Research Center, Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015, April 9, 2015 – paragraph 2, sentence 1.
You need to have time for connecting face to face with your kids and setting limits for when and where devices are allowed is a great way to insure your family stays connected in real time. The Smart Talk helps you determine all of those issues!
Visit the Smart Talk site to check out the online safety resources and create your own personalized family contract to encourage healthy digital habits.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.