I just read a good and short
article in Popular Mechanics on raising tech-savvy kids. Obviously, you and your family will make decisions in terms of what, when, how long etc. you will utilize various technologies, but there is some
good advice going out here. Here's the link: How to Raise a Tech-Savvy Kid
Also, here is a little of our narrative as to how we are rolling with tech in our own family:
- we have one family computer in an open area of our house with no
doors. We filter the internet at the router level with something called
OpenDNS. Works great and free for this sort of use.
- Devices - we have iPad and iPod touch at home. The girls typically share the touch and Tommy (6) rules the iPad.
They use it mainly for audiobooks, some games, some video watching, bible apps,
history apps, science aps, art/drawing apps. They have to ask permission to watch any
movies, etc. We lock down both with parental controls so there is no
internet/safari access, no YouTube, no installing apps, no in app
purchases, and any iTunes store purchase require authentication.
- we gave our older her own email when she was beginning the fifth grade and we have
the following parameters. 1) I get every email she gets, automatically
forwards to me - it is in my domain and I control the admin 2) She is not to chat, email, etc at night after bed time
- we do check. 3) She has to ask to add a new person to her contacts.
She emails classmates, friends and family. We found that 11 was a good
age for her.
- Cell Phone - they won't get one until they need one.
Driving, out on the road without us etc. Many of Kayla's friends
(5th/6th grade) from her soccer team have iPhones etc. We are holding
off on this for some time. The iPod touch is enough.
- we keep all passwords and parental codes. We spend a small bit extra
to have two netflix accounts (the cheapest) so one is all kids and one
Kasey and I use. We don't want them being able to click something that a
six year old should not watch but is appropriate for adults. They
always have to ask permission to watch anything, they never can just
roll up on the TV
- Other accounts - we have done online stuff
like Moshi Monsters and WebKinz - we keep tabs on this and usually
don't pay for anything after free trials expire. We don't want to spend
on that. Our oldest has a Khan academy account for self-directed learning. There is iOS app with the videos as well.
- we allow a few online, simple games - super hero squad, hobbit, etc -
usually Flash games, and they need permission and are limited in time.
We do no social gaming, console gaming is its not part of our family
flow. If we did, there would need to be parameters on that.
We constantly discuss what is appropriate and not for various ages and why.
We also value books, reading etc. They don't get to do media unless
homework is done and they have read something as well. We do this for the sake of their brains. Thankfully, all
the kids like to read now - sometimes too much. Put down that book I'm trying to talk to you! Our youngest, the boy, was more work
on the reading front but he progressing well now. ;-)
Hope this is helpful. Love to dialog on this and hear what you guys do and answer any questions for each other. More than anything we want to build wisdom and discernment with our kids as they walk with the eternal God in an evolving culture.