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:

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 5.07.57 PM

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

First-Response Parenting: #happen2accidents

(Welcome Kelli, guest writer to my blog on parenting and technology. She’ll sign off as -KO while I’ll use -DP)

“I’d never look at that kind of stuff!” –13 year-old son when asked if he had ever seen porn while on his Instagram account

accidentalopps

So I find this great resource, “iparent.tv “ for fostering online safety for our family. One of their recent posts is an expose’ (00:01:24) on how porn is on Instagram.

I watch it, then I watch it with my 7th-grade son.  He has an Instagram account, as does every member of our family of six.  After watching it together, here’s how it went down:

Him: I’d never watch anything like that!

Me: I’m not saying you would, just that it seems like it could happen by accident.

Him: Well, it didn’t and I wouldn’t even want to.

Me: I would. (never underestimate the power of shock-value parenting)

Him: What?!

Me: I mean I’d be tempted to, when I was a kid and even now. It’s powerful stuff. Remember what I told you about what happened to me with porn when I was your age?

Him:  Yeah, you don’t have to go into that again.

Me: Don’t worry, I won’t. I just want you to know that you’re not a pervert like some people say if you’re curious about sexual things.  Porn is just one way Satan is trying to steal your heart. Please tell Dad or me or someone that loves you if you get in trouble with it. We won’t be mad.

That wisdom (welcoming bad news from your child) isn’t mine. I had to buy it. I spent approximately 16 weeks and hundreds of dollars in co-pay cash to get it from my therapist a few years back. Worth every minute and dollar.

See, I asked this veteran (30 plus years of counseling sexual abuse victims) why I was so screwed up?  Why other people, who had suffered worse traumas than I had, seemed better off?  Her response: “I can tell you why right now…they got what they needed when it happened. You didn’t.”

What she meant was that when bad stuff happens to children, they need an “interpreter”; an approachable parent or caregiver (see Andrea Lucado’s helpful article entitled Approachable Parentingwho can first speak to the child’s dignity, then safety; i.e.: “That thing that happened is wrong. But you’re not a wrong thing. Let’s get you safe.”

3 Keys to Unlock Fear

keys

It’s easy to get paralyzed in parenting; fighting the extremes of hyper-vigilance and permissiveness. Good thing there’s help! God gives us three keys that can open the door wide toward encouragement:

Which parenting tool (God’s Word, prayer, people) do you need more of in your family’s life?  -KO