Lets face it the computer, cell phones, iPads, & internet are all amazing tools and here to stay so there is no looking back on this one. Call me old-fashioned but I still can’t stand seeing every other person looking down with their eyes glued to a phone (yes and even me from time to time). With regards to raising my kids I have had to come to terms with this concept and realize that computers, phones, iPads are NOT bad for our youth but actually VERY BENEFICIAL !
When Used properly for research, learning, reading, etc our kids are so lucky to have these devices right in their hands. But with that statement I still remain VERY cautious regarding what I see many if not most youth using phones, computers, and the internet for…… texting, social media, photo/video sharing, mindless video games, etc. The internet is a powerful thing and there are no restrictions and not much privacy of any sort. This scares me and I don’t want my kids who are not aware of this concept getting in over their heads.
So for that reason and others I am doing anything and everything to protect them from the “dangerous” side of personal phones, iPads, computers, internet etc… Here are the steps we have taken in our home to do what we can to keep our kids up to date with the latest technology and its endless learning opportunities yet protect them from the dangers and inappropriate material lurking on the internet…I know this will change from time to time or as they get older but here is what is working for now…….
- FAMILY COMPUTER:
We have 1 home family computer in our kitchen for ALL to see. Each of my 3 older kids have an iPad mini but it stays on the kitchen counter and family area while in use…We have set each child’s iPad mini up with parental blocks for age appropriate material and apps.
- REVIEW APPS:
Any and all app purchases are to first be reviewed by mom or dad. I open their apps, safari, and texts (they only can text grandma and their aunties) and review together often with them. I do this to just see what they have been searching and what they are into etc.. most of the time its hairstyles,or cute baby animals, 🙂
- TIME LIMIT:
I ALWAYS give a time limit and set a timer and stick to it when electronics are in use. When the time is done there is no arguing etc they know to turn it off.
- NO ELECTRONICS DURING THE WEEK:
We have set in place a NO ELECTRONICS RULE during the week (NOT WEEKENDS) , yup even for my 12 year old! She can use her iPad when needed for assignments and then it gets turned off. We don’t even encourage fun play on the computer or allow the school type games UNLESS they are a specific homework assignment.
What is the point of this? Well here is my reasoning….. I want my kids to still play and play with each other and use their imaginations. There are numerous studies on the benefits of digital detox for all of us! I don’t want my kiddos to get attached to the idea that boredom equals mindless playing and instant gratification of the iPad or fumbling around with a phone. When homework is done they go outside and play. We have tried the opposite route and let them use iPads or computer when school work is done and thats all they wanted to do. We got tired of seeing them so glued to the screen.
Since we have implemented this no electronics rule during the week they never ask for the iPad/computer and they instead find other things to do with each other or they read. I find so much joy in seeing my kids play monopoly together or getting a good game of tag going in the yard. I believe this is so much more valuable than any “educational” game they could be playing on an electronic device.
Honestly most weekdays between school, sports, homework, and reading the day is pretty much done with a just little time to spare for free time. The ONLY exception to the No Electronics rule is when the Detroit Red Wings play. We all sit together to watch and are HUGE hockey fans! 🙂
- YOU CAN’T “UNSEE” THINGS:
With TV and computers I remind my kids that they can’t ever “unsee” things. Once you see something its in your head.
PHILIPPIANS 4:8 -> Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think on these things.
God asks us to set our eyes on things that are good and pure and kind for a reason. This is to protect their little minds and hearts. There is ALOT of nonsense , garbage, and inappropriate material kids can easily or even accidentally view just by tapping the wrong letter… kinda scary… so I remind them also that we are all curious but we need to do the right thing even when no one is watching – Integrity is a wonderful character quality we strive for in our family and this gives the perfect groundwork.
BOTTOM LINE: Don’t put in front of your eyes what you don’t want in your head.
- NO SOCIAL MEDIA
NONE! No exceptions! In my opinion younger kids/tweens are not mature enough to understand that once they post a comment or picture its there forever. Kids do stupid things its true and we all did thats part of growing up. We need to be able to learn a lesson and move on from mistakes but that can be hard when the mistake is made on the internet. Once comments/pictures/videos are posted on the internet they are almost impossible to erase. Social media is just not where I want my kids involved at this age and stage of their life. Also texting is a no-no. My kids don’t have phones so this one I don’t have to worry to much about.
- THIS TO SHALL PASS:
“Everyone else has a phone mom”….”everyone else is getting that app”….”everyone else is on snap chat”…Yes I do hear this from time to time and my answer is that these things are all temporary and WILL PASS. They are not missing out on anything! I remind them that they can have their friends over whenever they want to catch up and they also are allowed to email or pick up the phone to call really anytime! Relationships can get so misconstrued over text messages / social media posts/ etc… Its really just another way of protecting their hearts. I am also encouraged and often pray over my children Roman 12:2 and remind them that the ways of this world and what everyone else is doing is not always whats best
Roman 12:2 My children are not being conformed to this world system, They are constantly being transformed by the renewing of their mind, that they might know what is good, acceptable, and perfect will of God for their lives.
So there you have it! Call me crazy but I believe its very important to take the reigns on this one and protect, set boundaries, and teach my kids internet safety and using their electronics wisely!
How about you???
Be Well 🙂