As a tech blogger, it’s pretty obvious that I love tech and gadgets. A part of my passion for tech means keeping up with the latest tech news. As a parent, this is where things can get a little scary. I often read news and get press releases for the blog about alarming statistics regarding our connected kids and the online world.
That’s why I thought I’m excited partner with Trend Micro on this sponsored post about how to parent today’s connected kids.
I remember when Kora and Logan were little. The iPhone had just come out not too long before and Dave had one. Even when the kids were only 1 and 2 years old they knew they could look at his screen and swipe and tap to make it do the things they wanted. They didn’t play with his phone much but it was amazing to us how intuitive it was that they could figure it out at such a young age.
Nowadays I go shopping and I see parents pushing their toddlers around in shopping carts and the kids are glued to a phone or tablet. This is our world now. These young kids, even ours, will never remember what it was like before cell phones, tablets, and the internet. They are able to connect all day every day no matter where they are.
Ground rules for connected kids
That’s why it’s important as parents to establish some ground rules. It can be easy after a long day to just say, “go ahead you can play on the tablet (or that connected video game or on their phone…simply insert their favorite device here).” But it’s important to be diligent.
We need to make sure our kids are safe and in doing so screen limits need to be put in place. There are many studies out there that reveal the astounding amount of time kids are staring at screens these days. The simple way to fix this is to set a timeframe for when they can be connected and when they need to put the devices away.
This makes everyone happy. There is a lot of good out there on the internet. Kids can visit museums in 360 degree videos all over the world, they can learn about other cultures and history through fun and informative videos, many apps are created to make math and physics fun. And there’s pure entertainment as well – watching a favorite show or funny video on YouTube etc. Kids still get to have fun and parents feel better knowing they aren’t staring at the screen all day.
Not only is setting screen time limits in general a good idea, but it makes the time they do have on the devices even more enjoyable. Keeping them off the screens at night will help them sleep better too.
Another thing parents needs to do is make sure their connected kids are browsing online safely. There are a number of browsers made for kids that are meant to only show kid friendly material. You can type in “kid safe browser” onto your favorite search engine and a number of them will pop up.
This is better than letting them search at random because you just never know what might pop up.
As for apps, there are some great apps out there that put parental controls in place on phones and tablets. You can set screen times, bedtimes, approve which sites are visited, add filters for kid safe content, and set alerts as well. The same goes with texting. Many of these parental control apps allow you to monitor texts so you can be alerted when there is anything you need to know.
So while parenting a connected kid can sound scary, as long as you establish some ground rules it can be an amazing and educational way for kids to grow up too. I am still always amazed that my kids can ask a question like, “How hot is the sun?” They can type it in (or say it these days!) and the answer pops right up! It’s really incredible how much information is right at their fingertips and that you have the ability as a parent to control it and keep them safe.
This post is sponsored by the awesome people at Trend Micro. They believe in keeping your connected kids safe while online. Trend Micro has also created a tremendous resource about internet safety, it is full of ideas and suggestions that all parents should check out here.