With back to school in full swing, I’m focusing on the mobile device struggle that I have openly shared here before with my girls. That struggle is how my girls have become more reliant on their iPads as they are growing up. It seems that what started out a few years back as a fun way for my pre-school age kids to learn their letters, numbers and more has turned into a way for both now elementary school aged girls to escape reality with games, YouTube videos, and more.
While I tried to keep iPad usage down this past summer, I also was more lax at times. But for back to school, I am reminding my kids of some basic rules for their mobile devices. I also am confident that this struggle isn’t just in our home after conversing with other moms of kids.
So, I am sharing some ways to help monitor, as well as to help them be more responsible with their mobile device usage.
1. Define Clear Cut Limits/Times of Usage –
I have discussed this before. But there are most definitely times, when kids shouldn’t use their mobile devices. These times include meal or family time. But also, I don’t want my own kids on their devices before they are going to school. Plus, I don’t want them on their mobile devices during homework or bed time. So, I feel it is necessary to lay out the times when their mobile devices are definitely off limits. I also make sure to set limits on how much time they are allowed to be on these devices.
2. Be flexible When Need Be –
Still, I can also be flexible when responding to my kids behaviors or needs. For instance, if I notice that my kids are grumpy, tired and just over-stimulated. This is when I’d be more inclined to limit their time with their iPads. Still there might be other times, as well. This includes when they have very little homework, have completed all chores, and/or overall just behaving appropriately. At times like these conversely, I’d allow them an extra 20-30 minutes of iPad time as a reward for good behavior.
3. Allow for School Work –
I mentioned that when my kids were younger, I allowed them to use iPads or other mobile technology. This was to help them learn the basics, such as counting and letters. I still encourage my own kids now to use these types of devices if it helps them with a specific topic for school or even a homework assignment. See as much as we can fight using technology. We also can’t deny that that these mobile devices can be more helpful than detrimental in helping young kids with learning. For these times, I am there to monitor what my own kids are finding in these types of searches.
4. Monitor Mobile Devices with LifeLock –
Again, a big key with kids using mobile devices is being a responsible parent. In being accountable, I not only make sure to do all that I have shared above so far. But also empower my children to become smart digital citizens in an increasingly connected world. See I monitor and keep an open line of communication with their mobile device usage. But how exactly do I do this? I do this by creating a Smart Talk agreement with my kids. Because this allows me to put our family internet rules in writing. What is The Smart Talk? The Smart Talk was created by National PTA and LifeLock. It is a free, online tool. It also helps families set ground rules for technology use. Plus it promotes having open, ongoing conversations about online safety and responsibility.
How does The Smart Talk work? The Smart Talk is a contractual agreement in nature. It engages kids and parents in an interactive experience, leading them through a guided conversation about online safety and privacy; screen time; apps and downloads; texting and calling; and social media and respect. This tool creates a printable contract to hold the parent and child accountable.
Can The Smart Talk be changed or modified? Yes! See the Smart Talk can be revisited over time to keep the conversation going. Plus, it evolves as your kids age and even as technology changes. So there you have it. Four easy ways to help with back to school and mobile device usage with you kids.
How will you set limits with your kids, mobile devices and back to school?
Will you Create a Smart Talk agreement with your child for back to school?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.