Teaching Kids Online Safety and Controlling Screen Time

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Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 9.13.44 AM My daughter got her first computer this summer. When it arrived I spent all day trying to turn on parental controls and block things. She isn’t a Minecraft fan so she is barely on it but we got it for educational purposes and so far it’s been great. She still doesn’t know what Facebook is, few!

But with a new piece of technology comes a need for some ground rules. So we turned to The Smart Talk Family Agreement. LifeLock, Inc., and National PTA® have launched a new, free resource for families that helps parents have clear conversations with their children about using technology and agree on ground rules together. This digital tool is designed to empower families to make smarter, safer choices online and help build the next generation of digital citizens. Responsible and respectful digital citizens. 

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 9.04.08 AMSo I selected the things I wanted to cover with her. I didn’t need the whole contract because she doesn’t have her own cellphone yet. But there are some basic things I wanted to make sure she was aware of. Especially because she is in the public eye on my blog. Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 9.06.34 AM

I want to make sure that she never posts anything about where we live, where she goes to school and sharing her birthday as well. I selected what I wanted to include in the contract, which was pretty much everything. Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 9.06.48 AM

I also set up designated device-free times. Which has been a huge improvement in our house already. See my device management plan at the bottom of this post. Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 9.09.01 AM

Although she doesn’t have any social media accounts yet, I wanted to start the conversation about reputation and respect online. Lifelock-smarttalk

After everything was selected, talked about and together, I printed the contract out for her to sign. 

I put our screen management plan into action the same day and things have been much better. I was pulling my hair out because we didn’t sit down and have rules before. So here are some of the things we did. gc35538_powerdock5_1

Ways we limit and control screen time

Store all the devices in one place. – We got a Griffon PowerDock for all of our devices. That way I know which ones are “check-out” or in use. It’s like the device command central. 

Set screen time. – We created times when there are no devices allowed. “Don’t even bother asking because the answer is no.” My daughter used to come in and steal the iPad from our room while we were still sleeping and watch it in the mornings. Then I found her sneaking it into her room after bedtime on school nights, that’s when I laid down the law! 

Change the password. – We put a password lock on every device in the house (except the LeapPads because they are learning tablets). We wouldn’t let the kids know the password either. Now they have to come to us anytime they want to play on it. It has helped tremendously. 

Set a to-do list. – Before anyone can even ask for a device, homework needs to be completed and all of their chores must be completed. 

Visit the Smart Talk site to check out the online safety resources and create your own personalized family contract to encourage healthy digital habits.

How do you handle screen time with your children?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.

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