Our parents don’t know how easy they had it. When I was a kid (ahem…only a few years ago), the only technology we had was TV and even that was completely different. There were no cartoons on demand…it was Saturday morning or bust! Now our children have TV on demand, tablets, cell phones, and whatever the next latest, greatest device turns out to be.
With all this new technology comes responsibility. Parents are responsible for keeping their children safe and children need to learn responsibility with how they use their electronic devices.
This is where The Smart Talk comes in. LifeLock has collaborated with the National PTA to create Smart Talk, a free online tool that helps you discuss these responsibilities with your kids. My 8 year old has a tablet and a cell phone (only because we lucked into a free phone). While she only uses it for games and YouTube videos right now, soon she’ll be interacting with friends through texts, social media and other apps. We gave her some basic ground rules in the beginning (no buying anything without asking was a big one!) but it’s definitely time to have a more serious conversation.
I like Smart Talk because it encourages this conversation in a way that your child can understand. Plus it’s interactive and my daughter had input with setting the boundaries. That made the tone more collaborative, not just mommy setting rigid rules that she had to follow. She really enjoyed talking through what we should do and knowing that she was part of the process.
It’s really user friendly too. We went to the Smart Talk site and followed the prompts. First we entered our names.
Then it took us through a series of discussion questions, including security & privacy…
and screen time.
It was a simple but very comprehensive process. The Smart Talk covered everything from how long Ashling could spend on her devices each day, who she can follow on social media, what she’s allowed to share, the type of apps she can download, texting and calling limits and even who pays for the repairs if one of her devices is damaged. We went through and discussed each section together, marking the appropriate answers. I really liked that it covered a lot of bases that I hadn’t even thought of yet.
Finally we decided how often to review the ground rules (we chose once a year) and printed our agreement. There were spots for both of us to sign and we made it official.
Even though I trust Ashling, it still felt good to get all these things in writing. Ashling even said that she thought “it was fun”, which is nice because I’ll be doing it again in a few years with her little sister.
If your child is old enough to be using electronic devices, I highly recommend creating The Smart Talk contract with them. It’s quick and easy and the best part is that it encourages honest conversation between you and your child.
What devices does your child have at home? Have you had discussions about the responsibility that goes along with them?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.