This week, I had the pleasure of attending the Verizon Smart Family Roundtable with other Dallas based voices in the parenting and family community. We spent a bit of time sharing experiences, discussing what’s new, what we are seeking and recognizing that the world that our children are and will grow up in is connected to technology unlike any other time in recent memory.
Our children and families have access to more information than ever before and more social and technological stimuli is available and streaming to our families. I know that my family is tech connected. Like so many of the families that I encounter, we have phones, computers, tablets and televisions throughout the house. We message each other and snap pictures to capture the moments in our days and watch YouTube shows to pass the time and stay in the loop. Cell phones have become a part of our lives. They help us to stay connected, help our co-parenting balance work and serve to enable me to feel a bit more secure when the kids are out of my sight and yet are still available to reached.
But with this new tech-connectedness, parenting right now, includes challenges that our parents didn’t have to consider from tech addictions, online predators, inappropriate content, negativity overload to screen babysitters and more. If you look, there are so many more things to police, witness and discover. It’s another layer to the parenting game, and I try to stay ahead of the game.
Enter “Good Digital Parenting”.
As a parent, you get to decide what works and what doesn’t for your household and your children. Sometimes I feel like we are all winging it, but when I run across something great that makes it easier, I can’t wait to share. The Family Online Safety Contract and the 7 Steps to Good Digital Parenting by FOSI (Family Online Safety Institute) are some of those tools that I wish I had discovered before I gave my children their first phones and tablets. Hindsight is 20/20, but the beauty about parenting is that you can always implement something that you find to be a better fit.
In kid-friendly and parent friendly language, it is a ground rule prompter that makes it easier to have that conversation about what the phone is, who it belongs to, when you can use it and how it should fit into their day. I’ll be sharing it with my kids this weekend — 2/3 have phones. 1/3 is longing for one.
Wish me luck!
Also while there, I got to take a peek at the new tools from Verizon including the Gizmo Watch, a rather cool tool for younger kids with limited options and a kid-friendly design.
But for us with older children and in answer to parents that want more control over their kids tech life, Verizon has created the Verizon Smart Family tool. It lets you monitor use, set limits and create a family tech environment that meets the needs and framework that works for your family. Take for instance, if you don’t want your children to be able to watch Netflix from 4-6 because that is homework time then you can set those boundaries from your device and it limits access. I love that it gives you a tool to help you protect your family in the invisible world of the internet. See a glimpse inside below.
I’ll be sharing more over the coming weeks as I implement new tools and discover new resources.
To learn more about the Verizon Smart Family app, visit here.
To learn more about FOSI, the Family Online Safety Institute, visit here.