Parenting a Wired Generation: Part I
November 10, 2011 • 0 comment(s)
Recently I had lunch with a friend of mine. Upon catching up I was shocked to learn what her son had been doing on his iPad. Let me add that being a mom that works in the tech industry and even sells VoIP I tend to think of myself as rather tech savvy. But based on what he was doing I am far from it I guess. It’s not just what he was doing but what the person he thought to be a 13 year old girl from our town was asking him to do. Come to find out after turning the iPad over to the police and tracking the GPS location of the pictures that were sent to him through a “gaming” app that allows “chat” it wasn’t a 13 year old girl from our area after all. It was an adult male from Pennsylvania.
This is just one of many stories out there and we as parents have to stay on top of the ever changing technology. It’s a hard task for sure. I had my own personal experience when my 10 year old got an iPod touch. He downloaded a texting app and enabled voice over it when connected to wireless making it a cell phone. I was astonished when he called me from his iPod and remember me mentioning I sell VoIP?! I had no idea he could do this. It’s the same technology!! That is the point. It’s almost impossible to keep up with.
While we can’t know everything they are doing all the time we can establish some rules. Here are a few of mine:
- Limited access – The iPod touch is only used when we are there to monitor it. No taking it to school or to a friend’s house. YouTube is disabled on the iPod and parental controls are set on the laptop. Xbox is for games only, no playing online unless a parent is present and the online gamer is a friend that has been approved. All devices are turned off by a certain time and not kept in bedrooms and are always used in common areas of the house.
- Spies like us – Chances are you as the parent bought the device whether it be an iPad, laptop, iPod or gaming device so you are entitled to snoop. Check your child’s devices, history, etc. It’s our responsibility. My son told me I was invading his privacy so I took his iPod touch away until he realized I will and can snoop whenever I want. Even if it means taking it from him mid way through him typing a text (before he gets a chance to delete it). Some wireless carriers even let you get copies of texts sent and received from your child’s phone.
- Educate yourself – Talk to other parents and learn from their experience. Set up a monthly group if needed to educate one another. Visit sites that teach parents about technology.
- Practice what you preach – Don’t let your kids see you text and drive and not expect them to do the same. Put your smartphone away during dinner. Make sure they know they are more important than anything going on with work, on Facebook or Twitter. Give them the same courtesy you expect from them and they will be more apt to respect your rules (they may not like them but they will respect them).
Technology can be great in keeping us connected to our kids but it also connects them when they shouldn’t be to others they shouldn’t be connecting with so we have to continue learning what can harm them virtually or physically.
Please share any tips, stories or sites that may be helpful! This is an ongoing topic and parents can work together in protecting our kids in cyber-space!