No one knows the dangers lurking online better than tech heads and hackers. Yet, they feel comfortable enough to allow their own children to go online and it’s not because they don’t care what their kids might stumble upon.
So I’ve looked into why these tech-savvy parents aren’t too concerned and found some key things they are doing differently compared to the average parent.
Where The Tech Lives In Your Home
No technology in the bedroom. Techs have seen the effects of extended screen time on themselves, and some have taken all the technology out of their children’s bedrooms.
I tried out this advice in my own family and found that by centralizing the technology (the phones, tablets, laptops and computers), we’ve experienced several benefits as a family that tech-savvy people have also found:
- Better sleep
- Behavioral awareness
- Increased family time
- More conversation
This also applies to my wife and I. If I want to scroll around on my phone, I need to either be in one of the shared family areas or in my home office. By being a role model of what should be done, I have run into less resistance from my children and they in turn feel that our family rules are based in fairness.
I can’t tell you how many of my friends have jokingly (and some not so jokingly) told me that “Oh, that’s not my iPad any more, it’s [insert 3 year old’s name]”. Aside from the fact that over using technology at such a young age is damaging to a child’s development, these parents find that they have an incredibly hard time setting rules for tech use, as the child now “owns” the device.
However, a tech-savvy parent knows that they (the parent) are the device owner and must set boundaries. This is also helpful because once the child is clear on who owns what, they can no longer successfully argue against the rules you may impose, because they know the device is not theirs.
Create Computer Profiles
More and more parents believe that their children and teens need a laptop to function in school. Aside from the fact that this particular belief can add up fast if you have more than one child, this also leaves them vulnerable to destroying it by downloading a malicious virus.
One way around this is to create multiple user accounts on your family computer. Both Microsoft Windows and Apple allow you to create separate accounts for your various family members. So if you set your children up with a standard user account and then set family controls (like, no downloading without administrator password and create a restricted website list) then they can work on assignments and other projects without needing their own laptop just yet.
Embrace The Dumb Phone
While your kids may expect any phone they receive will be a smartphone, that doesn’t mean that is what they should be using. Last time I checked, a “dumb” phone could text and call just as well as a smartphone, costing a whole lot less and avoiding a lot of social media induced phone problems!
Plenty of technology guru parents go the low tech route, like legendary Steve Jobs. Parents like him understand the dangers of spending too much time on tech and have taught their children to limit their dependence on it.
While you’ll run into other hurdles as your children grow into teens, getting the technology aspect down can only help both you and them in the long run.