How to Create a Family Technology Plan Part I

“Technology and parenting? I’ve got it all figured out!” —said no parent ever.

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Guest blogger Kelli O’Dell joins us again today: 

“74% of parents say they don’t have the time or energy to keep up with their children online.” —iparent.tv

No Judging Here

Judge not the parents of that statistic, for we are they. Or at least 74% of us are. But what about the 26% surveyed who presumably “keep up”? Are they parenting off-the-grid?  I.T. professionals? Whole-foods-enriched super-parents? Wait. What if they’re just normal people…with a plan?

“What’s Your Plan?”

My friend John asks that question when someone goes on too long about anything. And by “someone” I mean me and by “anything” I mean my problems. Money and kid woes, usually.

Tired of John’s question and my own complaining, I decide to go back to college.

At eight weeks long, Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University is my kind of college. Granted, The Dave can rile and polarize evangelicals almost worser than The Donald, but his “Baby Steps” plan is working for us. Emboldened by budget-keeping and real live cash-using, we wonder:

“Should we go whole-hog anti-American, and consider budgeting other areas of chronic over-extension…like our tech time? We decide yes. Best to swallow both late-bloomer pills in one dose while morale is high.

Gulp.

If We Can Do It, Anyone Can!

  • We will get the ball rolling by talking through some Tech Plan Starters
  • We will decide together how to fill in the blanks of this plan
  • We will come back and tell you how it’s going!

What’s helping your family use tech in a balanced way? Let’s share resources and ideas!

What Kids Say About Their Parent’s Technology Habits

The consistent feedback from students is that parents are constantly on their own screens. Whether it’s work-related pressure (laptop and phone email at night) or regular, disruptive “checking,” parents live in the same world with similar patterns as their children.

Business mother speaking over the cellphone, with two kids

Business mother speaking over the cellphone, with two kids

Here’s an authentic test. Create some type of plan to limit your own technology use without broadcasting it to the world. Just try it for a week. You’ll learn more than you care to….

My wife and I are doing no-tech when we first get up and no-tech the hour before bed. I agreed to it easy enough. What could be so difficult about that? Right?

Pick one from the list and see if you can pull it off for a week:

  • Using the phone for calls only
  • 1st hour, last hour….no tech
  • No social media
  • No TV
  • No tech, no radio while in the car

After wrestling through your own stuff, you’ll parent better….especially if you hold yourself to the same standards that you’re imposing on your kids.

Kiddle

What’s Kiddle? It’s a new search engine. For kids.

The Kiddle home page views like a Google Jr.Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 3.59.54 PM

Registered in 2014 and powered by Google safe search, the site actually has no connection with the tech giant, reports the BBC News.

So how does it work? In an article for Consumer Affairs, author Sarah D. Young reports:

“After a child inputs a search, the first three results that pop up will be pages written specifically for children. The next three results will include content written in a kid-friendly fashion. The final eight or so results will include content written for adults, but screened for certain unsavory words. All results are handpicked and checked by Kiddle editors, according to their site…should a child veer off the kid-oriented path that Kiddle has paved, the site’s guard robot will block the search.”

If a “naughty” word search is plugged in, this is what pops up:

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Are parents liking it? For the most part, yes.  Any critics? Of course. Read a favorable parent review here, and a cautionary weigh-in here.

Most internet-safety experts still agree that the best surfing safeguards remain:

  • to get the best software filter you can find/afford
  • put the family computer in a central location
  • check the history often
  • establish a Family Technology Plan

-KO