As Australian students look to head back to school, many will be walking out the door with an internet enabled device in their backpack as part of their schools BYOD program.
Whatever your view of the extent that technology should play in your child’s education, one thing remains true. Parents must play a crucial role in ensuring the technology is incorporated safely and responsibly into their child’s life and the family as a whole.
There are many ways parents need to be involved and in tune with the devices and how they impact their children, but here are some top tips to help you start the year feeling in control and empowered.
1) Regularly check the device for apps and games to ensure they are appropriate. The website commonsensemedia.org is a great resource to check for age appropriate content.
2) Ensure there are ‘device free’ times after school. No primary (or secondary age child for that matter), has so much homework that they cannot be doing other things after school that don’t require technology.
3) Begin with the rule of no devices in the bedrooms at night. Aside from the obvious distractions of late night texting and gaming, there is also scientific evidence that the blue light emitted from devices interferes with the production of the hormone melatonin, which consequently interferes with our ability to fall asleep. And we all know kids starting the school year need more sleep, not less.
4) Look for teachable moments all the time in order to teach your children through conversation about the experiences of others and their interaction with technology, rather than merely lecturing.
5) Purchase a decent cover for your device or tablet. I use the Tech21 covers for all our devices as they are sturdy and shatter proof and have been know to bounce many a time. (not that we encourage bouncing of our phones and tablets). Also be sure kids dont get into the habit of throwing the schoolbag when they walk in the door!
6) Attend any information sessions your school has on technology, or better still speak to your school about getting me there to talk about safely and responsibly incorporating the technology into your life.
7) Remember you are your kids greatest role model and they will learn far more from watching what you do than from listening to what you say. Look at the role technology plays in your life and be sure that this mirrors the impact you want it to have on your child’s life too.
8) Keep reading The Modern Parent (of course!) and keep learning what you can. Endeavour to keep up with the changes to the technology and how that effects our children’s behaviours. Of course there are lots of great resources out there to ensure you and your kids are able to maximise the benefits and minimise the risks. There are no excuses for feeling left behind.
Is your child starting the year with a new device? How are you feeling about it?