Building a Plan for Technology Guardrails:
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
- Proverbs 22:6
One of the best ways we can train our children is by example. How much of our time are we spending in front of a screen or device? Or, how often are we spending time NOT on a screen or device? Our children will copy our behaviors.
Communicate! Take time to teach and train your children on the “why” behind technology guardrails. Initiate an open discussion with your kids and explain all restrictions and rules that are clear and consistent.
Where to start
“Media should work for you & work within your family values & parenting style. When media is used thoughtfully & appropriately, media can enhance daily life. But when used inappropriately or without thought, media can displace many important activities such as face-to-face interaction, family-time, outdoor-play, exercise, unplugged downtime & sleep.
By creating a Personalized Family Media Use Plan, you can be aware of when you are using media to achieve your purpose. This requires parents & users to think about what they want those purposes to be. The tool below will help you to think about media & create goals & rules that are in line with your family’s values.” - AAP Media Plans
Create Your Family Media Plan (Schedule for screen time)
Use a Parental Monitoring App to help carry out your plan and monitor usage:
there are always ways around these monitoring apps and your hands on involvement and attention will always be necessary on a consistent basis.
Social Media: What Other Parents Are Saying
“With Teensafe you can hook their device to it using the serial number on the device and monitor all sent and received texts- hook it to the IG or FB accounts also but all that to say if they have a fake account or many alternatives like many teens do- without the password to set it up on your app- you have no way to monitor”
“We have a nice new flip phone that we can change the phone number to in 60 seconds or less with no fee and make them use that if we find that there have been any abuses. I have done it.”
“I work with middle and high school students and most of them have "spam accounts" on different social media platforms. The accounts their parents have access to are a front and G rated. It's those secret spam accounts that would shock most parents. Especially the parents who say "my kid would never do that".
Some of them only access their spam accounts through their friends phones so that their parents never find out. This is one of the MANY reasons why our kids will not be attending sleepovers, btw. Access to their friends phone all night long?? Nope.
There are so many damaging apps that are trending in the middle and high school world right now. A big one with our students is Sarahah... where people can receive anonymous "constructive criticism" from “friends"
“We don't do social media and plan on keeping it that way. The studies on how social media and how it is increasing depression and anxiety in teens is scary - With Hayden - he is a rule follower and doesn't even ask for Social media - and barely texts - so it makes it easy to stick to the rules. With Emerson - I know the rules are going to be harder to maintain without becoming "the worst mom ever" - We have told her no phones or social media - and that we will get her a smart watch instead - that can call up to 4 people. I do think that the type of child you have definitely directs the rules you instill - with that said ... I have never heard a parent say " I am so glad my child got snapchat/ IG" - but I have heard the opposite...many times.”
“So much to say, so little time. Our child has ZERO social media and won’t as long as she lives with me. I own her phone. No one under 18 can get one without a contract through major carrier so without me, she has nothing. I told her upfront before she got it that it’s mine for her to borrow, that I have a monitoring software on her so I can see every text, search, call, etc that is sent to that number. It’s off when I say its’ off and better be on when I say it should be. I’m brutal and proud of it. No remorse. Luckily, she get it. She has seen her friends get absolutely crushed through various apps (don’t get me started) and I have to manually enter her Apple ID password for any type of download. I may be the mean mom, but I’ve got one kid and one shot at this life with her. As long as you live under my roof, privacy is a luxury. It’s ALL my business.”
“I wish there was a magic formula “do this and all your tech problems will be nonexistent”..unfortunately with 2 very different teen girls I've found it to not be the case. We've used teensafe to check texts/IG/Twitter and we use Life360 to track driving. I follow their IG and we have no Snapchat. With all that we have dealt with lots of awful stuff on both sides. All I can say is be aware, be involved and be the mom that's not afraid to stand up for your child...both in defending them and disciplining. I've done it right and I've done it wrong. Thankful God's grace covers it all...if we did it over I'd keep them off social media as long as I could.”
Feel free to comment below with any questions or comments that may help another parent!