Thursday, March 20, 2008

Monitoring Technology at Home

From time to time, parents approach me with technology related issues/questions that happen at home between students who attend MLK. Actually, this happened again this week. This was a reminder to me of the challenges that parents (including me) face at home around the appropriate use of technology by children. And there are lots of challenges. In my experience, here are some of the biggest potential challenges:
  • Click here for other social networking websites
  • instant messaging from a computer or cell phone
  • text messaging from a cell phone or computer
  • email
  • cell phone usage in general
  • websites where children will enter their personal information in order to set up an account
I'm sure there are many more. If you know of another site or activity with which you have had concern, click comments below to share your suggestion with the larger group.

As a part of the discussion that takes place following these questions, it is often apparent that parents have questions about how to appropriately monitor technology. Of course, as parents of children who are (or are becoming) more computer literate than their parents, we must be ever-cognizant of our children’s on-line experience. Suggestions for parents include the following, some of which are from the FBI:
  • Communicate, and talk to your child about sexual victimization and potential on-line danger.
  • Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations.
  • Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child's bedroom.
  • Utilize parental controls provided by your operating system, your service provider, and/or blocking software.
  • Always maintain access to your child's on-line account and randomly check his/her e-mail.
  • Be up front with your child about your access and reasons why.
More at:

Of course, at school technology is monitored, blocking software is utilized, and children/families all sign the district computer-use agreement. I share this as a reminder and for your awareness.

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