I have a love hate with technology for my children. I see the potential for technology to literally teach them anything they want to know. Technology can connect them to the world in a way that wasn’t possible to imagine when I was a super
awkward cool 12 years old walking around with my Discman. With a little internet safety savvy that big wide world/technology connection can continue being a positive!
Limits. It’s all about technology serving us and not the other way around. This is a difficult balance even as an adult. We found a simple little tool that has helped us get a handle on internet safety and has ended the “five more minutes” argument.
Internet safety makes me wanna bury my head in the sand.
We are homeschoolers but we don’t do “online school.” The majority of our curriculum is good old fashioned books. The kids have plenty of opportunity to use the web for research & the occasional online class. I am not scared of technology in our school or family.
That being said I have two children that would watch YouTube all day given the chance, and two more that play Clash of Clans all the live long day. While I’m sure there are lessons to be learned through these activities I still believe that “watching” is not as good as “doing” when it comes to learning. Do something.
Because of our unique school day my kids are lucky to have free hours to fill most days. Most forms of technology are off limits till after traditional school ends, around 3 pm here. The rule during that time is find something to do; go outside, make something, learn something, read something, play a game, experiment. Make yourself a more interesting person.
I’d like to say my little darlings are super honest and would never be found sneaking YouTube while in their fort they made. (They can’t now! Hehe!) Or “just checking their battle” instead of catching up on their civil war book. But, come on…
They’re human and they’re just learning. My job as a parent is to set limits for them, even when it’s a bummer. But this technology deal is changing every day. Internet safety is an issue that didn’t even exist when I was their age.
Hmmm.. What to do. What to do.
We have tried multiple paid internet safety services to help us monitor time, content, and online activity. Our kids know we are watching their activity; it’s not a covert operation. We talk about it. My kids have never given me a reason not to trust them; I do trust them. But they are not adults nor do they have judgement of adults. Between social media, online pornography, and just general “ick” there is so much I don’t want my kids to have to witness and decide on their own quite yet.
Enter the circle…
Filters can be set for separately for each child/ device as well as whole house settings that apply to anyone that connects to your home wifi. Each device /child is given their own profile. Time limits can be set for each app, bedtimes given, off times set during the day, filters set, and search histories seen.
One of my favorite features is the “pause.” With the touch of one button I can pause their internet or the internet of the entire house. Gasp… Mwhahahaha!
And really, I don’t torture my kids by wielding this “pause” power like it may sound. But my husband I do love the peace of mind that we get from knowing what our children are doing online. The fact that they ” know we know” also gives them some accountability to make good choices.
When you’re gone I’ll still be watching….
Disney Circle only works when my kids are connected to our home wifi. Monitoring stops when they go elsewhere or use cellular data plans instead of connecting to wifi. We signed up for “Circle Go,” a monthly paid service that keeps all the limits and tracking of our Circle device going no matter where they are. Score.
Sorry, not sorry kiddos.
We love you and wanna protect those squishy little brains of yours.
Tell me how your family handles internet safety! What works for you?