Last week, we talked to a parent about the technology rules she’d set for her teenager. This week, we’re talking to parents who have young children in the digital age.

Children’s Ages: 6 & 8

Do they have regular access to the internet? Yes.

Is it supervised or monitored in any way? Barracuda (site blocker at school)  proximity of usage at home.

What methods do you use to track what your kids do online?  Right now, they are young enough that all their usage is in the living room or at the kitchen table with us beside them, basically.  We will have to step up our home “security” or filtering system very soon, they get older.

Do your kids have their own mobile devices? No. Mobile devices make us, as parents, sad. They are a necessary evil, but I don’t necessarily like what they are doing to our children or our society. They do share an old iPhone that we put apps on.  No calling, texting, or safari.  Just apps.

As a parent, raising kids in this technology-heavy digital age, what are your biggest concerns? Right now,  our biggest concern is Google Images.  It seems to be immune to most filtering. My kids love to find pictures of their favorites; legos, rainbow loom bracelets, super heroes, TV shows, etc, and a Google image search will almost always give you something inappropriate if you scroll long enough. We’ve had to explain to our oldest that you can’t just blindly search for things on the internet.  She didn’t ask a lot of “why not’s” so at this point we didn’t really provide any. We are on the verge of big conversations and situations because of Google images, though.

How do you keep the lines of communication open when it comes to discussing these concerns with your child? Respect. We try not to parent in a fashion that shames feelings or questions, or ducks reasons why we are doing what we are doing. Respect the little kids as little people, prove to them they can talk to you–about this stuff and all stuff–then when an issue comes up it’s (hopefully) not an explosive situation or conversation.

Have you ever dealt with an incident of cyber bullying? Or another security-related incident? Nope.

Do you talk to your kids about the dangers of the internet (in the same way parents of the past talked about “stranger danger” or crossing the street without looking, for example)? Not yet, but I’m sure we will.

Do you allow your children on social media? If so, how do you monitor your child’s social media presence?  No, and I don’t anticipating doing so until 7th grade or so.  Basically, our goal is to shield them from the dangers of technology as long as possible.  They are not “forbidden” from it, nor do they, at this point, feel “left out” regarding it, but they are not immersed in it, given free reign in it, or really encouraged to use it.  In time, we will figure it out together, through lots of patient communication and reasons provided for why we do what we do. But we are in no hurry to buy/use/capitalize on the “benefits” of technology in the home. It’ll happen when it happens.

Do you have rules about downloading apps or software?  Yes. The kids can’t. Parents have to do it for them.

Do your kids read using their kindles or books? Our daughter has borrowed her mother’s kindle.

Still have questions about how to handle technology within your family? Tweet us and we’ll answer!

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