Is your child asking for a cell phone or tablet this holiday season? Are they begging for an internet connected device for their birthday?
The decision to get your child a device is a big one. Many parents often wonder what device is the best for their child, however, what often gets forgotten in the excitement of the new device is what guidelines you want to set for your child for this new shiny tool. Here are some things to think about before you make your next device purchase.
- Create and go over a family contract for use of the device. Think about the following questions:
- What are the “rules of use” going to be for the device?
- When is it okay to use the device?
- What information is safe to send and what should never be sent?
Kids need to know and understand clear boundaries. To find some premade family media agreements, check out: http://digitaled.site.portageps.org/resources/contracts
- Filter and monitor your child’s Internet usage. A good router and a program like OpenDNS can help you filter the Internet in your home. Filtering, however, is only the first step and can not be a substitute for parental monitoring. A simple kiss on the top of the head or pat on the back as you walk by your child will give you a quick look at what they are doing on their device. Also, keep devices and computers in public spaces of the house instead of the bedrooms. Check out more information on filtering here: http://digitaled.site.portageps.org/resources/internet-filtering
- What is the right device for your child? When considering electronic gifts it is always good to figure out the best fit for your child's needs. Do they need a cell phone, or would a 7" tablet be better? Do they need a laptop, or would a chromebook do everything they require? There are many excellent devices on the market today. If compatibility with Portage’s technology systems is of importance to you, we suggest you consider either a laptop capable of running Google Chrome, a Chromebook or an Android-based tablet.