Here are Some of the Major
Parenting Technology Talking Points:
Parental Controls – Why?
Often kids like things just the way they are and question why anything has to change. When parents begin instituting new rules and setting up parental controls, kids may get angry. A common question is: “Don’t you trust me?”
Work is Not the Same as for Fun
This is one of our favorites to nip in the bud. It’s one thing if you’re scrolling Instagram all day, but in most cases, we parents are on devices because we’re doing real work. When our children challenge us on this, we readily respond that we need our devices to be more effective in our jobs. Whether we’re CEO of our own company or CEO of the family, we’re using our devices to prepare a presentation, schedule doctor appointments, or juggle after school logistics.
If there’s any time for ‘fun screen time’, it happens in the evenings once we’ve gotten our work done. And actually, nothing sounds more appealing than turning off the screens and hitting the great outdoors.
Aren’t I Entitled to Some Privacy?
This is a difficult one to answer and is totally reflective of your parenting views and values. We think it all comes down to trust, and parents have an overabundance of reasons not to trust the internet.
To Track or Not to Track?
Tracking kid’s whereabouts is a totally new phenomenon. Some parents and teens may feel totally comfortable with technology-enhanced visibility into each other’s lives. Others may feel it’s a major invasion of privacy, if not a bit creepy. A question we often hear debated amongst Our Friends: “If you start tracking kids, when do you stop?”
We gave this some careful thought and here’s what we came up with:
Why are You Limiting the Number of Apps I Can Download?
If your child uses lots of apps, it can be a challenge to keep up with them. Time and again, we’ve been unpleasantly surprised, even when apps are rated 4+. There’s no assurance that advertising content will be age-appropriate, and so many of these apps are gamified. Children are often required to watch ads if they want to keep playing, or are entices to watch ads to earn extra points or special rewards.
Why Can’t I Use Devices in Restaurants or in the Car?
Generally, we think phones are best put away during mealtime, so we can give everyone our full attention. Sometimes when a question arises, googling can add to the conversation. We’ve established as a family rule that someone must get permission from your tablemates first before whipping out their phones.
“That’s Not Fair, You Can’t Take My Screen Time Away!”
It’s never any fun. Taking screen time away is like taking candy from a baby, and you know the tantrum is eminent. However, for younger kids, we categorically support putting devices away. Time and again, we’re surprised when we hear any other viewpoint. Yes, of course, you want your child to learn to self- regulate, but this is a learned skill that’s many years in the making.
“Why Can’t I Have More Screen Time?”
Screen Time Isn’t Bad or Good:
Kids can come up with so many good reasons for wanting to be on devices beyond the entertainment factor — they’re watching how-to videos or socializing with friends. But sometimes we feel they’ve already spent enough time on devices, and we just want them to take a break.
Online Chats – Can Any Good Come Out of Them?
Online chats can definitely feel scary from a parent’s perspective and cause parents a lot of concern. While the child online predator statistics are fairly low, many parents don’t want to take the risk. Sometimes it’s hard to know which games and apps have this functionality before giving the green light
Here’s what we did when we discovered our 10-year-old was playing a virtuality reality game (rated 4+) with online chats:
Why are you in my business when it comes to social media?
Monitoring Kids on Social Media – It’s Now a Parent’s Job :
Whether we like it or not, monitoring kids on social media is now part of our job description. While there are positives to social media — it can increase connection when used moderately — there are many downside risks. When kids are still learning how to interact online, a parent’s coaching and support greatly helps in navigating these digital exchanges.
The challenge for parents is that there’s no easy way to monitor social media activity. If your child is inclined toward surreptitious behavior, you can’t block them from setting up fake accounts or creating new profiles. And sometimes, the desire is more nuanced. It’s less about parents’ prying eyes and more about wanting to share with a more intimate group of friends.