Ah, September (or in my case, August). Does your list look a bit like mine?
- Buy new back-pack: Check
- Gather school supplies: Check
- Have kids sign tech and media agreement: Huh?
- Safety-enable digital devices: What now?
Back-to-school is a great time to establish or review a family media agreement with your kids. This two-way contract can help you reinforce your rules surrounding use of technology, from mobile devices to the family computer. For your younger kids, this might be the first year they are using computers in school and need to get online to do homework. For older teens, perhaps the back-to-school shopping list included a new laptop, or maybe their first smart phone. With a family media agreement you set expectations in advance – like, no texting at the dinner table, no sharing personal information online, and no sleeping with a cell phone under your pillow!
Here is an article with descriptions and links to some Family Online Media Agreements you can choose from.
Back to School Online Safety Guide
I’d been planning to write a thorough step-by-step back to school guide for setting restrictions and controls on any new devices. But then I read the Back to School Online Safety Guide on the Yoursphere for Parents website, and found that it included everything I wanted to tell you about! This is a site I link to regularly for the quality content and advice and this guide is no exception. I encourage you to check it out.
If all this seems overwhelming on top of all the other logistics of back-to-school planning, don’t fret. Take it step-by-step and don’t worry if you can’t cover everything. In my case, most of my daughter’s internet activity seems to be on her iPod touch these days, so I’m focusing on that and will worry about computer settings on the family laptop later. One small action is better than none at all! So do what you can and make time to enjoy the last hazy lazy days of summer.