Being a good Digital Parent.
Managing kids online time and digital profile, how we to try and get a handle on activity.
Some people think we are strict parents, I don’t, I think we are very sensible in the amount of time our kids spend on electronic devices such as PS4, iPAD, Tablets. I do think that some other parents we know have there kids online way way too much. but lets outline what we do and how our kids behave.
A) We limit access for Liam who remember is 6 to weekend access only, at this point he can use a tablet/iPad for a limited amount of time to either watch a youtube video which has been approved or play a game, again approved only. If he wants a new game he must then decide to remove a game already installed.
So why the above? Since he was born we have not raised him on iPads as other parents do. We are of the opinion this is incorrect and limits social development in the kid. I have seen kids when eating out at a restaurant that cannot hold a conversation and will only settle when the mobile phone or iPad is introduced, as these kids sit the device is handed to them straight off the bat. Our kids can go into the same situation and hold a conversation with others around them for the duration of the meal. We have also noticed that kids who do not get the electronic device straight away suffer withdrawal symptoms and become agitated when they do not get the device in question. They kick up because they know mum or dad will give in which always happens. so in the end parents just give the device and the excuse is it keeps them quite? Why have kids if you want them quite. Converse with them, it can be the best conversation of the day but you are missing out on this for a little peace and quite?
When we allow Liam onto a device it is a treat, and its also very very easy to take him off it. Either myself or mum can say “5 mins and off time please” and in 5 mins he will turn it off and go play with toys or nip outside or do whatever but its put down, no fuss, screaming, tantrums nothing. This is due to always having this rule in place, if you have always just let the kid be on a tablet with no limits and try that approach your going to be in a world of hurt. However i suggest you start somewhere, the kid overall will be happier for it.
I have also noted kids who have unlimited access are also on the whole more selfish and less willing to share, this is a observation of mine but any kid we have seen really will not share. The tablet is theirs and theirs alone, this also when on the rare occasion the tablet is not on relates to toys as well.
B) We limit Dylan to limited weekday access on his iPad upto 9pm and the same for his phone. At this point we take the devices off him
Dylan had a hard time a few weeks back in not getting up, being more grumpy than normal and just not being himself. We noted that he was slipping into using his iPad which is for school in the evening and then into bed. We caught him a number of times and then imposed the rule of all devices out of the bedroom at 9pm. This worked wonders and our kid returned to form. He gets a little more access weekdays however early evening due to being a little older but the device is not only monitored from school software but I have filters etc built into the devices.
I have also employed VISR (VISR is a simple, effective and kid-friendly tool notifying parents when relevant safety issues such as bullying, risky geotagging, and unusual times of use are detected across social networks)a new social monitoring service that when connected to his social accounts will alert me to situations i may need to look into. It monitors for activity and helps me know his online activity is safe.
VISR Information below.
I have already had a few emails into my inbox for me to look into due to certain keywords being highlighted in Instagram posts that Dylan looks at. At first i thought it meant that he had posted certain things but once i figured it out i knew what is was telling me and found it being very good at what it does. I also noted that it gave me the post and photo he was looking at just in case there was something a little too graphic and I need to take action.
I can now relax a little more knowing i can see what he can see. The best part is that he is fully aware of this monitoring system and is also fully aware and cooperative when i ask for his device to give a quick once over with my eyes. This is done on a regular basis with out warning and it means I know again this are age appropriate from a parenting point of view.
If you are looking to monitor your child’s social profiles then get VISR from the website. it really takes a lot of worry out of the equation in relation to your child’s online footprint.