Like many families today, our life is consumed with technology. We own smart phones, multiple tablets, computers, smart TVs, and the list goes on. I want to encourage my children to embrace technology, but with certain limitations. We have 4 kids, ranging from 2 to 10 years old. Each would spend every waking moment with a screen, whether it be a TV or an iPad, if we let them. While we probably allow more screen time than most families, we do have certain rules in our home. Here are 6 Technology Rules for Our Kids:
1. No Screens in the Bedrooms
The bedrooms are for sleeping. Our kids have a large playroom with a computer and TV setup just for them. Personally, for us – we’ve always felt that there is nothing that they need to be watching or playing that can’t be played in the playroom.
2. Computers Must be Monitored
We use Net Nanny to monitor our kids’ internet access. Net Nanny allows access to certain sites on the web, but not free rein. After finding out what our older kids were Googling, we quickly found the need for this service.
3. No Password Access
I know my kids. If we gave them our password to our Apple or Google Play account, they would go on a spending spree. Same thing with our Amazon video account. If they need a password, we will type it in for them.
4. No Social Media
Our kids range in ages 2-10. The tweens have both asked for access to Facebook and Twitter, and while they have friends on both platforms – we told them we would reconsider when they were 13. We did set our daughter up with an Instagram account. We thought we would lock it down just for family. After finding her scrolling through the Trending photos (filled with all kinds of inappropriateness) – we decided that she wasn’t old enough for Instagram.
5. We Know Everything You Do Online
From the time we let our kids access the internet, we tell them – “We know everything you do online.” When I was young, I got into all kinds of trouble online. My parents, in their defense – the web wasn’t even the web – had no idea who I was talking to or what I was surfing. It’s a free country, but my kids don’t have freedom when it comes to using the internet. I want them to know that for their protection, we won’t let certain behaviors happen when using technology.
6. No Violent Video Games or Apps
My husband loves playing Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. He plays late at night after the kids have gone to sleep, and the games are hidden high on a shelf in his office. There is no way that I’ll let the tweens play these titles. There are numerous family friendly and kid friendly video games and apps for our kids to choose from. I don’t see any reason personally, why I would want my kids exposed to the violence (in real life or digitally!)
Kids and the Internet
Have we had issues with our kids and the internet? YES. I think most parents who allow their kids online (which is the majority of us), will have issues with their kids. The issues that we have, are our kids being curious. They want to know certain things, and with Google at their fingertips – they try to get the answers themselves.
Changing the Rules
As our kids get older, I know the rules will continue to change. I still don’t see the need for screens in the bedroom. They have enough sleeping problems as is. We will cross those hurdles when it’s time – but for now, we don’t mind being the strict parents.
It’s Our Job As Parents to Educate Our Children
From sex to violence, our kids are exposed to so much more than we were ever exposed to. It’s our job as parents to guide and inform our children in this ever changing world, not to let the internet educate them.
What Are Your Family Rules for Using Technology?
- 5 Helpful Chores for Toddlers
- 5 Tips for Saving Your Kids Artwork
- 7 Fabulous and Free Apps for Toddlers
- 10 Tips to Help Survive the Flu
- 7 Helpful Tips for Taking Toddlers to the Movies
- New Apple Video Shot Entirely on the iPhone