How Technology Can Coexist With Kids in a Healthy Way – $50 Gift Card Giveaway #takecharge #sp

When parents come to me with questions about how to monitor their kid’s technology, it’s almost always after they’ve discovered something – a questionable photo on Instagram, a conversation with a stranger, usage when they should have been doing their homework. No matter how conscious and proactive parents are about setting limits in other areas, often they don’t create boundaries around technology until a boundary has already been crossed. And no wonder: Many say they simply don’t know where to begin. If they ban chatting on one device, they think, their kids will find a way to do it on another. Others parents say they didn’t realize how much time their kids actually spent staring at screens.

Believe it or not, according to recent studies, kids ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day on various devices, often while multitasking. But while too much technology use is associated with lower grades and shortened attention spans, it also creates wonderful opportunities for parents and kids alike that none of us would want to give up. So here are a few ways to start thinking about how technology can coexist with kids in a healthy way.

Establish your policy up front. Earlier this year, when a mom named Jannel Burley Hoffman gave her 13-year-old son his first iPhone, it came not just with a data plan, but with a contract. Among the points: She would have his password; if she or her husband called, her son was always to pick up; there would be no porn viewing or sending or receiving inappropriate photos; he would have access to his phone during certain hours only; if he accidentally lost or broke his phone, he would be responsible for its replacement cost. Clarifying rules early on is a win-win for everyone. Kids learn that with freedom comes responsibility, and parents can feel reassured that while kids will make mistakes, they don’t have to come up with a consequence (often an overreaction) on the fly. It’s all in the contract.

Make manners matter. Because we parents were born before Facebook existed, we learned our manners offline. If we did something rude, we apologized, and our bad judgment didn’t live in cyberspace for eternity. For this reason, kids need to know that if they wouldn’t say something offline to a person’s face, they shouldn’t text, post or e-mail that comment, either.  Likewise, if they wouldn’t cut off a person sitting across the table from them mid-sentence, they shouldn’t start texting somebody else when that real live person they’re hanging out with is mid-sentence. It may seem obvious to us, but many kids need a reminder that while technology is cool, human beings – with feelings – are the ones who are using it.

Don’t give in to peer pressure…from your kids! Even if you set limits, inevitably your child will try to get you to change your mind with, “But everyone else my age has [fill in the blank]!” If you feel your kid isn’t ready for something – a Facebook account, an iPhone – listen to your gut. Yes, they may be using it from the safety of their bedroom or backpack, but once they’re online, they’re, in essence, able to interact with the entire world. Some kids are inherently less impulsive than others; some self-regulate at earlier ages than others. Your kids will internalize the limits you set, so that by gradually increasing their freedom, you’re giving them the opportunity to show you that they can handle the next level of responsibility. Just as you wouldn’t give your teenager the keys to the car if you didn’t think she could go to a party and not drink before driving, you wouldn’t give her access to a type of technology you didn’t feel confident she could be safe with. Letting your kids show you they’re ready gives you peace of mind, and them the confidence of having earned your trust through their actions.

Be in this together. Because technology is ever-changing, and so are our kids, it’s important for them to feel that while you set the rules, communication is always open. If you notice a distinct change in your child’s behavior and friendships, and you check to see if cyber-bullying is occurring, you’re being a helpful parent, not an intrusive spy. If you set a rule but it’s not in line with what the technology actually does, listen to your child’s explanation, research it, and if you need to adjust the rule, then do so. If you find your child searching for something above his age level on the Internet and you want to give him more accurate information, start a conversation about it. Yes, kids can and should have their spheres of privacy. But they need to know that the Internet is a communal space, one that parents and kids are in together.

Visit www.cox.com/takecharge for more tips and information.

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About Stacie

Stacie, a social media consultant, is one of Cision Media's Top 10 Most Influential Mommy Bloggers and one of the HERoic: 10 Mommy Bloggers Who Rule Social Media. She is also a frequent guest speaker at blog conferences, a contributor at Babble Kid Scoop and ShePosts.

Stacie founded Social Media Chicks, a collaborative social media consulting company and Georgia Social Media Moms, a group of 250+ social media/blogging experts in her home state.

An Atlanta resident and lifelong writer, Stacie is the mother of three children (9 & under) and married to the love of her life. She is always planning the next epic travel adventure for her family.

Comments

  1. Mami2jcn says:

    My tip would be to supervise their Internet use.

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  22. rachel travis says:

    They can coexist by having their “technology” time limited, just like everything else :)

    rachelmarietravis at gmail dot com

  23. Sandy VanHoey says:

    My grandson has many educational programs he plays daily on the internet. He is supervised and we log him him to keep him safe and we use a name that is not his own

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  45. Jessie C. says:

    We use parental control on home desk pc and always accompany kids while they are using the Internet.

  46. Jessie C. says:
  47. Jessie C. says:

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  78. Shannon says:

    My kids only use media on the weekends. It’s tough!, but it’s the only way for our family to be balanced.

  79. Jessie C. says:

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  83. steve weber says:

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  88. We limit the amount of time our son uses Internet and monitor the sites he is visiting

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  104. Candice says:

    Put limits on the sites they can visit, and time spent using the Internet.

  105. Candice says:

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  121. Trisha Dowling says:

    i limit their internet, theyre only allowed to be online with me in the room and i check their history

  122. Trisha Dowling says:

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  123. Cynthia R says:

    show them fun sites that are also educational, but limit their computer/game time and encourage other activities such as reading, board games, playing outside

  124. Cynthia R says:

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  147. Sandy VanHoey says:
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  149. Set firm limits on usage time. And make sure they understand that you can look over their shoulder at any time!

  150. Cynthia R says:
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  183. June Lisle says:

    You can use technology to look up information about bugs you find in your yard with your kids.

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  189. Sandy VanHoey says:
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  197. Sarah Hall says:

    By making sure that you limit the time spent in front of the computer or other electronic device. Kids must have fresh air and sunshine and exercise to grow and be healthy. The computer is a wonderful device but it does need to be limited sometimes.

  198. Jennifer T. says:

    My son, who is not even two yet, has already picked up some colors and shapes from watching his older sister play educational games on my phone when we are waiting somewhere. I think that limits on screen time and supervision can foster a healthy outcome with technology.
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  237. Olga Beauty says:

    It’s a very important and burning topic, for many kids have notebooks, iPhones, apps, cell phones etc. And we can’t change the situation becuase it’s a new age and our kids must go with the times to succeed in this life. So, our task as parents is to protect them as far as possible. Thank you for this info!

  238. Charlotte says:

    Set a limited amount of time, they should be supervised, and you should know passwords to their social accounts!

  239. Charlotte says:

    1 Subscribed by email & RSS

  240. Charlotte says:

    2 Subscribed by email & RSS

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    3 Subscribed by email & RSS

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  247. Charlotte says:

    4 Entered AlamosGames2Go giveaway

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    5 Entered AlamosGames2Go giveaway

  249. Charlotte says:

    1 Entered The Way, Way Back giveaway

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    5 Entered The Way, Way Back giveaway

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    1 Entered Coach Purse giveaway

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    2 Entered Coach Purse giveaway

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    3 Entered Coach Purse giveaway

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    4 Entered Coach Purse giveaway

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    5 Entered Coach Purse giveaway

  259. Charlotte says:

    1 Left comment on “Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship”

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    2 Left comment on “Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship”

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    3 Left comment on “Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship”

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    5 Left comment on “Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship”

  264. Charlotte says:

    1 Left comment on Pizza Night with DiGiorno Pizza

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    3 Left comment on Pizza Night with DiGiorno Pizza

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    4 Left comment on Pizza Night with DiGiorno Pizza

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    5 Left comment on Pizza Night with DiGiorno Pizza

  269. Charlotte says:

    1 Following on Google+ (Charlotte Heartsyou)

  270. Charlotte says:

    2 Following on Google+ (Charlotte Heartsyou)

  271. Charlotte says:

    1 Following on Pinterest (Charluvsabby3)

  272. Charlotte says:

    2 Following on Pinterest (Charluvsabby3)

  273. Charlotte says:
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  276. Charlotte says:

    Following you on twitter (Charluvsabby3)

  277. Charlotte says:
  278. Sandy VanHoey says:
  279. My best tip for how technology and kids can coexist in a health way is by blocking what you think needs to be blocked and supervising the rest. ;)
    Deanna´s last blog post ..My Latest Win – Monster High Dolls Ghouls Helping Ghouls Prize Pack

  280. #1 – I’m subscribed by email.
    Deanna´s last blog post ..My Latest Win – Monster High Dolls Ghouls Helping Ghouls Prize Pack

  281. #2 – I’m subscribed by email.
    Deanna´s last blog post ..My Latest Win – Monster High Dolls Ghouls Helping Ghouls Prize Pack

  282. #3 – I’m subscribed by email.
    Deanna´s last blog post ..My Latest Win – Monster High Dolls Ghouls Helping Ghouls Prize Pack

  283. #4 – I’m subscribed by email.
    Deanna´s last blog post ..My Latest Win – Monster High Dolls Ghouls Helping Ghouls Prize Pack

  284. #5 – I’m subscribed by email.
    Deanna´s last blog post ..My Latest Win – Monster High Dolls Ghouls Helping Ghouls Prize Pack

  285. #1 – I added you to one of my Google+ circles (Deanna McClellan).
    Deanna´s last blog post ..My Latest Win – Monster High Dolls Ghouls Helping Ghouls Prize Pack

  286. #2 – I added you to one of my Google+ circles (Deanna McClellan).
    Deanna´s last blog post ..My Latest Win – Monster High Dolls Ghouls Helping Ghouls Prize Pack

  287. #1 – I’m following you on Pinterest (deannajdm).
    Deanna´s last blog post ..My Latest Win – Monster High Dolls Ghouls Helping Ghouls Prize Pack

  288. #2 – I’m following you on Pinterest (deannajdm).
    Deanna´s last blog post ..My Latest Win – Monster High Dolls Ghouls Helping Ghouls Prize Pack

  289. I’m following StacieinAtlanta on Twitter (giveaway_mommy).
    Deanna´s last blog post ..My Latest Win – Monster High Dolls Ghouls Helping Ghouls Prize Pack

  290. i think kids and technology can only coexisit with proper supervision by parents. I think it’s completely OK for parents to have all kids email, facebook, ect passwords, and to set a certain age when a kid can have those accounts

  291. i subscribe to your emails #1

  292. i subscribe to your emails #2

  293. i subscribe to your emails #3

  294. i subscribe to your emails #4

  295. i subscribe to your emails #5

  296. follow u on pinterest as mmmmdonut #1

  297. follow u on pinterest as mmmmdonut #2

  298. Kenny F says:

    using internet safely

  299. Kenny F says:

    entered alamo 1x

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