This school year is going to have more kids on ipads, computers, and phones than ever before. Most parents feel the intense pressures of having kids growing up in the digital age and now that many schools are going virtual, kids will be in front of screens routinely. Not to mention that when they are separated from friends, they will desire devices to help them connect. We all could use some helpful resources to navigate the always-changing technology as it comes quickly at us as well as tips to establish healthy technology cultures in our own homes. Check out these five helpful resources as you and your family develop wisdom and control in the ever-changing digital world. HLLF- Melissa
1. The Tech Wise Family by Andy Crouch
This book is a must-read. Andy shares excellent thoughts about the fact that technology is more than just using internet filters and dealing with screen time. It’s about developing wisdom, character, and courage in the way we use smartphones and other digital technology. It brings the family unit front and center in a world where technology’s distractions have possibly taken over. If you want help in reclaiming real life in a world of devices, check this book out.
2. Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media rates apps, movies, TV shows, books, and more, so parents can feel good about the entertainment and device choices they make for their kids. Their timely parenting advice supports families as they navigate the challenges and possibilities of raising kids in the digital age. Their vision is to help families take charge of their digital choices. If you have a question about an app your kiddo wants to download, this is the place to start.
This company also partners with policymakers, business leaders, and other advocates to bring about legislation related to technology to keep parents and educators informed. They identify solutions for digital well-being and champion legislation that supports the youngest and most vulnerable users… our kids.
You can find them at www.commonsensemedia.org.
3. We Start Now (START)
This non-profit organization was started with the goal of creating a new culture of families who stand together and rethink technology. START exists to develop healthy norms, values, and training for technology use. They realize that technology saturates all parts of society (school, work, home), and to change these norms, it requires an “all hands on deck” approach. Their blog has valuable insight and ideas about how to integrate technology in your family and overviews the must-know info for parents on popular kid apps like Snap Chat. You will want to follow them as they give valuable advice and information on the ever-changing digital world and the effect it can have on our kids!
Follow this great organization at www.westartnow.org.
4. Devices to Help Navigate Parental Controls and Screen Time
Bark was ranked #1 in Parental Control Apps by Consumers Advocate. Bark’s service proactively monitors text messages, YouTube, emails, and 24 different social networks for potential safety concerns. When Bark’s algorithms detect potential risks, you will get an automat alert via email and text, so you don’t have to comb through every post and text. The cost is $9 a month per family.
This device can be used to set time limits for individual sites, platforms, or games, and allows you to manage apps and websites and restrict inappropriate content. The cost is $129 a year and can be used on all devices, from mobile phones and tablets to smart TVs and video game consoles.
5. Wait Until 8th
The goal of The Wait Until 8th pledge empowers parents to rally together to delay giving children a smartphone until at least 8th grade. The purpose of this is to decrease the pressure felt by kids and parents to have a smartphone before the parents feel their child is ready. Their website has a great list of resources covering everything from the dangers of smartphone use in kids to great parenting tips and programs you may want to initiate in your own community.