You all know that our little Max can surf Hawaii’s waves.
Well, our little dude also surfs the Internet Web with confidence too. So much so, that his screen name, Surf Jonah, seems to be a perfect fit for him.
I know that I am not the only person to that notice that EVERYWHERE you go technology is present. Smartphones, Tablets, Notebooks. We see adults, kids, even toddlers, on all of these devices, everywhere. Yes, even on the beach and at the pool.
In today’s world of technology, kids are naturals, primarily because they are growing up with it all around them. But Baby Boomers, well, we did not grow up with technology. But watched as it developed around us, and some of us didn’t know how or when to jump in, feeling left behind.
Today’s kids are being trained to use every gadget imaginable. Given the speed at which technology moves and how slow parents can be to react, some parents get caught playing technology catch-up.
Today’s parents, no matter whether you are a Boomer or not, must be involved in our children’s use of technology. It takes a conscious effort to keep kids technologically safe, and it has to start with them really young.
Being parents of eight-year-old, Max, who starts the third grade at the end of this month, you can bet Michael and I have been thrown into the loop of technology fast and furious.
We believe it’s up to us as parents to help our child make wise choices not only in life, but also to be sure he is well educated on technology for his future success, and protect his online safety.
We find the more that we know about technology, its uses and its future uses, the more empowered and capable we are to keep Max safe, without stifling his technology learning and his success in the future. So we do everything we can to learn technology ourselves.
Here are our primary technology objectives that we have for Max:
- Instilling a strong sense that with the power of technology comes responsibility.
- Protecting him with strict Parental Controls.
- Defining the age level of search and websites that Max’s computer use allow. Also defining the time of day his computer will allow him to use it, when it can turn on, when it turns off, as well as time limits of his use per day (one of our favorite features).
- Keeping a careful, daily watch on his social media contacts and his Internet searches. If your child has a Facebook account, be sure you set their privacy settings, control their password, and Friend them.
- Assisting him to set-up new accounts, and how to use new devices or software.
- On going training. Personally keeping up with the shifting rules of online etiquette and information sharing. Training is as easy as using Google to find examples and tutorials on how to do nearly every function on nearly every site or device. You can also take classes. Many of them are free online, or at businesses that sell devices, colleges, community and continuing education learning centers.
Parents are the key. Do not rely on your kids’ schools or their friends to instruct them when it comes to technology.
It’s ultimately up to us as parents to maintain open conversations with our kids, establish strict house rules, and make wise choices on the Web or other devices. Max loves surfing, balancing his waves and his web rides, is a priority to Michael and I as his parents.
Technology and the Internet’s potential to improve our kids’ lives are boundless.
But leaving children to their own navigation and being an unprepared parent, simply does not compute.