It’s always taken a village to raise a child well, but it’s even more important to link arms today as we battle our children’s growing dependency on technology.
As a parent of five kids on i-devices, I seek out wise mentors to help me in this arena. Balancing technology usage is the biggest battle I face raising my kids today.
Consider me part of your village as I pass on what I learn along the way. I recently gained this knowledge at a talk by Scottsdale Police Detective Tanya Corder and Dr. Lisa Strohman, Founder/CEO of the Technology Wellness Center, who witness the effects of technology on kids daily.
1. There should be no privacy when it comes to our kids’ devices
Technology gets good kids in trouble. Good kids make bad choices on their devices because it’s too easy to do.
Detective Corder made it clear that there’s nothing to ignore when it comes to kids and technology. She said there should be no privacy when it comes to our children’s devices. Our kids’ brains aren’t fully developed to always make the best choices and we need to help guide them.
*Be an advocate for your child and create privacy restrictions, know their passwords, monitor apps, and be involved in their overall tech usage.
2. A written parent-child technology contract is a must
Talk with your family members about what boundaries would be best to place on technology in your home. This way everyone is in communication and understands what the rules and consequences are. It’s time for us to update our family cell phone contract from almost two years ago.
3. Install a keylogger on all technology
This is where I thought I’d be overstepping the line with giving my children privacy. I thought WebWatcher and other monitoring software were over the top until I heard Detective Corder and Dr. Strohman say we must protect our children and ourselves by installing a monitoring keylogger on devices. With a keylogger, you will be able to set up alerts to let you know if your child types certain words, whether it be in a chat messenger, text, or browser.
4. Spot check the Apps downloaded on your child’s phone seasonally
Do you pay attention to the applications your child has installed on their phone? Detective Corder said it’s important to filter through their devices and learn about their downloaded apps about four times a year. Join the social media platforms they are using and get familiar with the platforms yourself.
Do you realize that many of the platforms and apps kids are using have no monitoring and no way to track past history or usage if something goes wrong?
5. Check for calculator apps that kids use to hide photos and videos on their phone
There are calculator apps that pose as a mathematical device but are actually a vault to hide secretive photos and videos. I had no idea about this and actually found this on one of my kids’ phones!
Do you know about the Snapchat My Eyes Only vault? Snapchat is the social media platform of choice for my kids, unfortunately. Another thing to sit down and discuss with our kids.
6. 4 Simple Don’ts
The goal is to not make it easy for people to find information on your child.
- Don’t let your kid use their face for their profile pic.
- Don’t have them use their real name.
- Make strong passwords and don’t share them.
- Don’t let kids have their own Apple ID, but instead have a family sharing one.
7. What should your child do if they receive a nude image?
Delete it. Detective Corder said they should not forward the image to you, or anyone else, as they are then distributing child pornography. If your kid doesn’t have it on their phone, they can’t be responsible. You must then report the incident to an appropriate adult so it can be taken down and handled appropriately.
8. Does your son play video games with people who aren’t in the room with him?
Think twice about even allowing your son to put on headphones and begin playing video games with others who aren’t in the room with him. Video game addiction is real, dangerous stuff and it is destroying lives.
Playing video games where you talk with strangers online isn’t a problem necessarily, but it becomes one when kids move the conversation to another platform. Watch for this.
Raising screenagers takes a village and we must learn from experts and those who can encourage us to lead our tech-savvy children well.