The following outlines information and resources for families trying to figure out how to protect against tech abuse and use tech for the glory of God. This blog article is a follow-up from the Family Gathering Tech Conversation at Fellowship Baptist Church on October 20, 2018.
Model Healthy Technology Behavior
“What parents do in moderation, kids will do in excess.” I’m not sure where I first heard this quote or who said it, but it is absolutely true. Parents, please understand that you are setting a pattern for your child and technology with every waking moment. Four important steps you can take to begin setting a healthy example with technology and media are (1) limit your tech time, (2) establish tech free times for you and your family, (3) don’t let tech interrupt personal interaction, and (4) promote tech free meals. For more information or ideas check out some of the links below.
Parents’ Smartphone Habits Mold Children’s Unruly Behavior, According To New Study
Technology Use by Parents May Worsen Children’s Behavior
Parent Technology Use: Being a Role Model
6 Healthy Tech Habits Any Parent Can Pass On to Their Kids
Digital Guidelines: Promoting Healthy Technology Use for Children
Family Technology Plans
It is a great idea for families to have a age-graded family technology and media plan that outlines questions such as who can kids connect with on-line, what types of tech or media can kids use, how much time and when they can use tech, where they can use tech, how they should engage with others on-line, tech safety, communication, privacy, accountability, rewards, and consequences. The following links provide ideas for developing your own Family Tech Plan.
Family Technology Plan Sample A
Family Technology Plan Sample B
Family Technology Plan Sample C
Research, Research, Research
Parents need to stay up-to-date on what’s going on with tech in order to help their children safely and healthily navigate through the tech world. Unfortunately, there is not a one stop shop website to provide parents with all the information they need. The biggest reason is there is simply too much data and the data changes so rapidly that it would be a full time job sorting through everything. I try to provide some articles and information within the Parent Feed each month; but again, the quantity of information is so voluminous and ever-changing. However, parents do not need to know everything. If parents will spend 30-60 minutes a week just poking around on the internet they would find themselves much more informed. So whether it is a google search of the top apps kids or teens are using or scrolling through tech news websites reading headlines, parents will benefit from a little old fashion research. The following are a few of the places I regularly visit to see what is going on in the tech world.
Center for Parent/Youth Understanding
Web Filtering, Monitoring, and Control
Every family needs to consider digital controls for the internet and devices. Whether it is just filtering (what you allow access to) or monitoring (tracking what is accessed), parents need to considering some form of internet control. There are a plethora of options out there and what works for one family might not work for another. Below are four recent internet control software or system reviews to begin your search for the best method for your family.
The Best Parental Control Software of 2018 (PC Magazine)
Best Internet Filter Software of 2018 (Top Ten Reviews)
The 7 Best Parental Control Software to Buy in 2018 (Lifewire)
Top 10 Best Free Parental Controls Software of 2018 (Spyzie)
The following are a few of the better options that I come across most often in my research.
Be on the lookout for my Parent Feed blog post each month for more information and resources for navigating the world of tech within the family.
Disclaimer: While I believe each resource can be helpful, I do not necessarily agree with every view expressed by the authors or publishing organizations. I encourage a careful, critical, and biblical examination of each source and the views represented therein.