Technology can be so helpful and convenient in the fast pace world we live in. As a part-time working adult and parent, I appreciate the opportunity technology gives me to quickly respond to an email while waiting for the doctor, or the opportunity it gives me to send a quick text to finalize the last details of an event while waiting for a friend who is running late. Technology helps me make the most of my time when I am out and about.
However, as much as I appreciate the benefits of technology’s conveniences in my own life, as a mother, technology scares me!
I am the mother of three beautiful children (Brayden 13, Jack 11, and Bella 8). As they get older I am realizing that technology is a very necessary part of their lives. Every day one or more of my children are requested to use the internet for school research or reports. My teenager has all of his text books online so that he doesn’t have to lug his books around all day. Not only are the internet and computers necessary, but phones and devices also seem to be the norm for kids.
As with everything, there are pros and cons that come with the easy access children have to technology and devices. For example, I love how easy it is for me get in touch with my children when they are away from me. I can call them, text them, Vox them, message them, track their phone location, etc… Knowing I can get a hold of my children or check on them at any time brings a lot of peace to my mind. It is also wonderful how much information they have at the touch of a button. Things that used to take a trip to the library to find out are now available in the palm of their hands.
Some of the cons that come from children having devices is the responsibility that many, in a very real way, are too young to handle. Because of this, my husband and I are actively involved with setting up filters on every single device in our family. We also have all the passwords on the devices and we believe in collecting all devices before bedtime every night. However, setting up filters and monitoring devices is not enough. Communication is a very important part of educating our children about technology.
In our home, we talk openly about the dangers that come with the internet; pornography, stranger danger, chat rooms, identity theft, fraud, etc… We have had several family meetings about the many different ways that phones, devices, and the internet can be harmful (as well as helpful). As a family, we have even taken a “Social Media Pledge” that explains different ways we can handle negative and scary internet and online media situations.
Technology is incredible and I am grateful for the opportunities it gives my family. I am also thankful for the open and direct conversations our family has been able to have about the influences of media and the dangers of technology.
Recently, I was so thrilled when I received the following messages from my son because it told me that those direct conversations have raised awareness and that my children feel safe enough to reach out to me using… technology!
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How do you talk to your kids about technology? Do you have any success stories like the one above that you would like to share? Michelle@epik.org