Of course, tablets and smartphones are two of the hottest holiday items this year, but before you give them to your child, you have to do these two things.
What are your kids asking for this Christmas? We know the answer to that.
They’re asking for tablets. They’re asking for smartphones. They’re asking for computers. They’re asking for programs, games, and app.
They want the tech and obviously, you want to give it to them, but there are two things that we have to do as parents if we’re going to be giving the gift of technology this Christmas.
And, first, this isn’t about don’t do it, don’t give your child this or that. Of course, you want to give your child what they want. Of course, you don’t want your child to feel ostracized or left behind because their friends have all of these things. And you want to be the cool parent, right? It’s one of the biggest reasons why we hear parents giving the gift of technology and giving phones and tablets to their kids. And that’s fine. Let’s not even go down that path today
But let’s talk about that you are committed to it and that’s the something you’ve thought about, you’ve talked about, and you’ve decided to it may be time to give your child a device. Maybe for the first time. Let them have one of their own take the training wheels off.
If so, there are two things we have to do as parents. One is – you know what I’m gonna’ say – talk. We have to talk with our children, and we’ve come up with a great tool for that. It’s the digital media family use agreement. It’s on our blog and you can download a copy for $0.99. It’s a four-page document; two pages for the parents and two pages for the kids. This is our use agreement. These are the things that I will do – these are the things that I won’t do, both for mom and dad and for the child.
This is a great starting point. This is where we can begin that conversation. Even if you take it apart and use pieces or change it, that’s fine. We’re trying to give you a tool to begin that important conversation.
The other thing is if you’re giving your child a tablet or a smartphone, and I can’t stress this enough, I have been anti parental monitoring app for years and you’ve probably heard me say it time and time again, ‘the best parental monitoring app is you, the parent.’ But I recently learned about Bark. Bark has an advanced algorithm. It’s learning as it grows and it’s looking for troublesome topics on your child’s device. It’s going to let you know about them so you don’t need to go snooping through their phones, reading their text messages, reading their Instagram. Bark will do it for you and it’ll alert you to issues related to cyberbullying, drug use, pornography, suicide, all of these topics that we’re terrified of as parents that our kids might be experiencing online.
That’s my task for you this year. If you’re going down that path, if you’ve decided that this is the year your son or daughter, grandson, niece, nephew, whoever is going to get that phone or tablet – great. Just introduce the conversation when you introduce the device. Use the digital family use agreement that we have on our blog and please install the Bark app. You can try it for free.
That’s what I have for you this Christmas and I wish you the best holiday season possible. Please, please, please be talking with your kids about their digital lives.