(This is a reprint from my Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner Column).
A recent survey commissioned by Intego, an iOS internet security technology company for home and business, reported 49 percent of parents (of children aged seven to 17) say that their child’s use of mobile devices interferes with bed time, school work or meal time, and for 27 percent of parents, managing screen time is a losing battle.
Jeff Erwin is the CEO of Intego, and he believes that parent lack of confidence and attention to learning about how to regulate technology use can be resolved with the right tools and education.“Limiting screen time is a losing battle because parents don’t want to be the bad guy,” he said. “Also, it is a losing battle because parents are too busy and many just don’t know how.”
Regulating screen time is a growing problem with the tablet and smart phone phenomenon – wherein kids are issued devices at earlier ages. And while this trend is easily witnessed, mobile phone insurance company data affirm that one third of parents are purchasing smart phones for kids between the ages of five and ten years of age (as reported in the Oregonian). Pretty much everybody has access to mobile connectivity and the apps that go along with it. Further compounding this trend, brain science tells us that mobile connectivity stimulates the reward or pleasure system in the brain much like a drug. And so the seductive and addictive impact on children who do not want to give up the device can easily become a genuine battle for parents to regulate use.
This cyber parent challenge is truly a matter of setting up an open communication path for children to work with parents on setting boundaries and talk about what is happening in the cyber social realm. “It is not a matter of spying,” Erwin said. “It is about communication.”
My two cents: Tips for regulating screen time as the “good guy”
- First, establish that your motive is to teach your child how to be in control of the device.
- Secondly, your role as the guardian for their personal security is to help them understand how set boundaries and help them respond to bullies and other bad actors with confidence. By the same token, let your child teach you about how their childhood is informing them, including what apps interest them and why.
- Third, find a good tool that will help you collaborate with your child to set limits. Intego’s Family Protector is an example of a product that will shut down the phone if your child does not honor the limits agreed upon. “It takes 10 minutes to set up,” Erwin said. As long as your child understands that your motive is not to control him or her, but rather to teach them how to be in control of the devices, the apps and to not give up power to the various forms of cyberbullies and trolls, limiting screen time will be perceived less as oppression and more as liberty. The phone shutting down can be perceived as a logical consequence.
- Finally, there is no parental control app that can replace your personal attention. When you install parental controls, it must be accompanied by your own personal commitment to give undivided attention to your child when you are with them and talking about the things that matter to them and to you.
To learn more about Intego’s parental control app, go to: Family Protector
To learn more about creating a family culture to build trust and establish open communication go to: Fresh Start.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7
Teach Your Digital Native to Know Their Own Worth
BMF is hosting its next symposium Saturday, October 3, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Carmichael at the Living Smart Foundation headquarters. The featured theme is: Teach Your Digital Native to Know Their Own Worth.
Objective: Internet porn, sextortion, sex trafficking and the intrusive manipulation of internet consumer advertising can be addressed by teaching children to know their worth as human beings, and how to put the role of sex and money in their world into proper perspective. To learn more and register, go to: Fresh Start Symposium – Teach Your Digital Native to Know Their Own Worth
NOTE: 3 Sponsor spots are available. To learn more about sponsorship, access this flyer: Sponsorship packet.
As the Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner, my personal mission is to educate and inspire parents from all walks of life and social settings to realize their inherent authority to govern the home and educate the child about their own power; the personal power that comes from the spiritual resilience of your chosen faith. And so I write for Examiner.com to express the passion of my mother heart to a diverse audience.
ABOUT: Banana Moments Foundation is a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. The BMF mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God grants every human being intelligence and free will and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all BMF proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your Donations are greatly appreciated.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world.She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.