Parenting in the 2020s comes with complications that did not exist less than a two decades ago. And technology—especially smartphones and tablets—add to those complications.
From the distractions of texting and gaming to “addiction” to social media and the constant concern over inappropriate online content, today’s tech can be very problematic.
At Medina Fiber, we understand that technology can raise parents’ eyebrows and blood pressure. But it also makes life more efficient and easier.
To address some of your concerns, we’ve compiled a list of resources to help parents navigate tech use to keep kids safe online and manage time on smart devices.
These resources provide valuable tips on using tech to monitor your kids’ devices and online use. It also includes advice for talking to your children—and fellow parents—about the risk of tech oversaturation.
Read below to learn more about resources to promote digital wellness in your family.
waituntil8th.org is an outstanding resource to start learning more about how early exposure to smartphones and tablets can impact your child’s life.
It features helpful information about excessive tech use that is easy to share with fellow parents and others in your community.
waituntil8th.org encourages parents to delay purchasing their child’s first smartphone until they are at least 14 years old.
In addition, waituntil8th.org offers tools and support for parents trying to limit and monitor their kid’s tech use.
Two Books by Experts on Today’s Digital World
Social scientists and psychologists have been studying the effects of digital technology use on humans, especially younger people.
As new data becomes available, experts publish their findings and offer advice for navigating the digital world.
We recommend two books to parents wanting to help keep their kids safe and productive while on their devices, without completely disconnecting them from their tech either: Screenwise by Devorah Heitner, and The Tech Diet for Your Child & Teen: The 7-Step Plan to Unplug & Reclaim Your Kid’s Childhood (And Your Family’s Sanity) by Brad Marshall.
Each book recognizes our modern digital world’s virtues but also acknowledges the need to cultivate a healthy, sustainable relationship with technology through limited screen time and a proper balance of off-device activities.
They also suggest strategies parents can employ to improve online safety and—perhaps just as helpful—for talking with your kids about responsible and limited tech use.
Parental Controls and Monitoring Software and Apps
In addition to those resources, there are many excellent software programs and apps to help parents monitor and control their kids’ devices and online activity.
We recommend Bark and Norton Family. By monitoring or blocking social media content and websites, these programs’ parental controls can ensure that you’re in charge of your children’s devices and what they can access.
Bark is particularly ingenious because of its ability to perceive and identify problematic or even dangerous content in social media usage instead of just outright blocking it.
This way, Bark fosters more practical online use while simultaneously giving parents peace of mind.
Norton Family includes powerful web content filters that can help keep your kid out of online trouble before it strikes.
It also includes settings that enable real-time access to previously blocked apps or websites as needed. Norton Family also tracks how much time your children spend on their devices, so you can better limit their screen time.
The above resources are a great start for parents wishing to teach their kids healthy online and digital habits while limiting their screen time.
By learning and sharing these strategies and tips, you can be more confident that your children will be savvy, conscientious tech users without being overly dependent on those devices.
And for more advice about how to make the most of Medina Fiber’s high-speed fiber internet while keeping your family safe online, follow our social pages!