Dawn Ramsey with Jordan School District tells us rules to live by when it comes to keeping kids safe while using technology.
- Keep electronics in sight
Have the computer or laptop centrally located. Your child is less likely to browse questionable content if he/she knows Mom or Dad (or brother or sister) might walk by at any second. This helps you monitor time spent online, chosen activities, and resultant behavior. Set up a homework station out in the open, or use the laptop at the kitchen table.
- No electronic devices in bedrooms- especially at night
This includes phone, iPod, laptop, iPad, Kindle, PC, gaming systems with browsing capabilities.
Have a central charging station (in the kitchen for example) where all devices get plugged in at night.
Kids will always say 'I need it for my alarm.' You can buy an old fashioned alarm clock for about $5.00. Definitely worth the investment.
This advice is good for everyone in the family, not just the kids.
- Have a family account for purchasing apps
Instead of giving your kids their own accounts (like on Apple for instance) use a family account that requires a password (that only the parents know) to download new apps, including free ones. This way parents are always aware of apps being put on their child`s devices.
- Know your child`s passwords
Know how to gain access to your child`s phone if you need to. If you want to monitor your kid's cell phone but do not want to seem intrusive, be honest about what you're doing and why. Explain that your rules are for their safety and protection. It's a parents' job to make sure kids are using their devices appropriately. Some parents say, "If I'm paying for it, I'm entitled to read my kids' texts, check their call logs, and know who their friends are." That's valid, but kids consider these devices to be as personal as diaries, so be understanding of that. Spot checks are a good idea. You know your child best. If you sense something isn't right, spot-check more often.
- Have a Technology Curfew
Set time limits on devise use, or have a set 'curfew' when devices are no longer in use. Example- 9pm everyone takes their device to the family charging spot, plugs it in, and won`t use it again until morning. Some parents choose to go through their service provider to disable service at a certain time. While this might be helpful for younger kids, be mindful of teens who are out late at work or with friends.