When Kids hang out with Technology

“I sent my 10-year old daughter to a sleepover, and they watched YouTube videos the entire time!” A friend shared her frustration. ‘Aren’t little girls supposed to be telling stories and painting nails?’

We sat together, four moms,in a rare conversation…each with a similar story, an emotional thread to contribute. I don’t have a daughter, but it’s the same with boys. Screen freedom at social gatherings is a much bigger deal than anyone likes to make it. Do you agree?

When kids hang out, are we curious enough about their technology? For the sake of innocence, and guarded for their path, we have to be. What do they see? What do they share? What fills their minds? And how is it affecting them?

From tv shows to video games, YouTube and whatever else, a parent can never fully retrace their child’s experience.

Alongside entertainment, we all know there’s more to consider when it comes to social media. Cyberbullying, social media pranks or dares, explicit sexual content, fake identity, pressure to participate, “nudes” (as kids are calling them), etc. — Morale is challenged at every turn, and it’s taking a toll on us, on our kids, and their friends.

With just one click, people are forever changed. And it’s happening daily.

So what do we do?

I don’t want to go ‘there’ without some kind of resolution.

Do you?

We have to communicate as parents…carefully and honestly. This is a new role for me, and maybe for you too. These are some ideas to think about, and I wonder if you agree. (Also, I’m just beginning to try these things out & know it’s not going to be easy!)

6 Considerations When Talking with Other Parents |Kids & Technology

  • Boundaries~ Decide and communicate them as a family, before expecting anything somewhere else.

  • Respect~ Without concern for one another, a conversation about the kids and devices is a lost cause. If a parent doesn’t show care for another’s values, maybe the kids should keep some distance. It’s not that everyone has to agree, but there should be respect for boundaries.

  • Clear Communication about Expectations ~ This is the tricky one. I mean, it really calls us out of the comfort zone. And personally, I have a lot of growing to do here. If our kids share technology with someone else’s, there has to be an exchange between parents about the details. (Agh, it’s even hard to say that out loud. This isn’t something anyone really does, at least not in my circle.) Here are some things we should agree on~

  • Movie Ratings

  • Internet Access

  • YouTube Viewing

  • Social Media Availability

  • Location of Screens in the Home

  • Time limits or Restraints (esp. at a sleepover)

  • TV Accessibility

  • Video Game Approval

  • Ability to Download or Delete Apps

  • The Possibility of Removing Technology Altogether for the Event

  • Sacrifice for Differences ~ There will be differences. There might be a few, or there might be a lot, but families seldom share exact standards. And if we agree to let our kids hang out with someone else’s, everyone has to feel comfortable. It might take some sacrifice (for our kids and for us).
  • Accountability Assurance~ After expectations are spoken, what kind of monitoring will take place? How will I keep an eye on all of this in my home, and how will they…in theirs.
  • Trust or Distance ~ If we’ve come this far, and still don’t trust a situation forour child (children), distance might be needed. How very difficult this is, we need confidence for their protection.In this season, we’re stunned by the need to speak up. It is so.not.easy. Would you add anything to add to this list?

Join the Conversation~
Together We Thrive!

Ayme

Digital Summer for Families

You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em

Know when to fold ‘em

Know when to walk away

And know when to run ~

Ah, Kenny Rogers…so wise 😉 Truth be told, ‘How to play the hand’is a question for all of us.

Parents/caretakers, you and I hold similar cards with “screen time, ” and we’re all-in. Digital life is definitely a part of summer fun, & something worth planning for. Are you ready!?

As kids grow more independent and capable, assertive in their own right, every season looks different from the previous, and this conversation does too. I’m learning my way through tween-&-teenage years right now, and digital independence is a hot topic in our home. Shared perspective isn’t very easy at this stage. (not that it ever really was…but sometimes I think we need an interpreter. Ha, just kidding {?} Anyone relate? 🙂

Screen bargaining makes for a stressful home, so we need clarity from the start. With that said, I’ve come up with a few ideas (sharing here for comradery). Thinking it through was my first step. I’d love to hear your thoughts. What works for you?

Create a plan.

It’s going to be worthwhile. In your home, what are everyone’s

thoughts about healthy boundaries with technology?

Communicate the plan and Commit.

Our kids and everyone who is going to be taking care of them should have clear expectations this summer. (Surprises aren’t fun when it comes to this.)

Support the plan.

What are the consequences if boundaries are crossed? Are you going to give more

time or freedom for chores or other things?

4 Steps to a Safe Digital Summer || F A M I L I E S

Digital Freedom | Apps | Downloads | Media

(Saying yes, no, and maybe so…)

  • What kinds of digital activity are you allowing for your kids? Why?

  • How do your kids ask for new apps or games? (Can they approve downloads themselves, or do you talk about it first?)

  • What filters/screen-monitoring do you have in place?

  • Do you have strong passwords for the internet, Youtube, and other social media? (Guys, this is a really big deal. There is a lot of support surrounding this need.)

  • How much time is given to gaming vs. productivity when they are on screens? (Technology can be advantageous in so many ways. That’s easy to forget when you’re young and free of commitments.)

  • What kinds of purposeful things can technology be used for this summer? (What are your kids interested in? What kind of apps do they want to download? Is there a real-life skill they could be building on here? Summer is a good time to get to know each other better and encourage individuality.)

Technology At Home

(ClearExpectations)

  • What kind of time restrictions do you have for screen use? Or –‘’What do you want them to be?” might be the better question. (I know it is for me.)

  • Can your kids earn more time, or less, based on attitude or helpfulness? (This sounds like some kind of Pinterest idea that I never got to when my kids were younger. The charts and stickers and all of that was intimidating to keep up with. Why does it have to be so elaborate? It doesn’t!)

  • How are expectations at home communicated? (Do or don’t do a chart. We’re all different. What works for you?)

  • Where do devices go when they aren’t in use? Do you have a charging station or something like that?

  • A written plan | “Technology Contract”  I’ve always thought the idea of a family contract for screens is a good idea. It’s never too late to start! Instead of being discouraged that we never did, our family’s going to begin this summer. There are a ton of ideas for how to do this. {I’ll be posting mine on the blog soon! – because that’s my accountability to get it done.} Do you have one for your family?

Technology Away From Home

(Trust, Limits, & Reason)

  • What kind of networking are your kids doing when they are with friends, a team, or other childcare?

  • Have you communicated internet safety enough with your kids? Do they know when something isn’t safe or appropriate? (With so many different family values and spectrum of choices, what kind of foundation do they stand on?

*Sleepovers are a big part of this. I’ve read plenty of articles, even one is enough, about first time & ongoing exposure to pornography, pedophilia, or bullying at sleepovers. When we send our kids off to stay with someone else, there needs to be peace of mind here! I felt really inspired after reading this post by Monica Swanson. I’m working on some ideas for our family in this area. Communication between parents is a super big must.

Technology Role Modeling

(Actions vs. Words)

It’s one thing to set limits for the kids, but how about us? Eek. I’m so convicted. Can I shut it all off in a moment’s notice? We’re telling our kids to get outside and curbing their screen habits, but what about ours? In a perfect world, I’d be self-controlled here. I’d set aside limited time each day for technology. I think we all would.

Our kids will be watching us this summer, taking cues about how we manage time. (It’s honestly one of the greatest challenges for me as a parent.) But that’s not a bad thing. It’s ok when our kids see us struggle here. Maybe it gives them a chance to support us too!

I know that having a plan for all of this is going to make summer a lot more fun, and that’s what it’s all about! Counting down the days now:)

As always, thank you for joining here!
Together we thrive~

Ayme

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Social Media | Teenage Years

It’s becoming more clear to all of us, just how important relationships are. Media shares stories of instant tragedy all over the world. And with the constant call to wake up, it seems that a lot of us are trading things for time, choosing to be more minimalistic about ‘stuff’.

 

Afternoons in my home are crazy. Not like a bad crazy, but just constant. And I love it — as long as everyone is happy:) Tonight my kids went off to be with their dad for a bit. The sudden contrast, the instant silence, it left me feeling a little sad. The empty house gave me time to organize, and clean. But it was oddly unsatisfying. I was reminded that every moment is a gift, and I don’t want to take time for granted with the ones I love.

The value of relationship is becoming more clear these days. From personal wellness to social impact, we were made to connect and feel, designed to engage. There are sober cues every day. Stories of tragedy from around the world call for a wake up, advise us to be present and live intentionally. Social media has become less useful for venting, and more inspirational toward human kindness. Many of us are trading things for time, stuff for experience, adopting the minimalist’s perspective. What’s the point of it all, if we don’t have each other anyway?

Maybe the conversation about internet safety is hard to have. I get it. Talking with our tweens|teens can be tricky. But the stakes are high. And their path depends on clear insight. They need your attention and your time.

We’re here because we long for character in our homes, integrity online. If you’re looking for some conversation starters, check out the ones posted here on the blog.

Your influence is powerful. Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Make the moment perfect.

For regular engagement with We Thrive Online, join on Instagram and Facebook too!

Together we thrive~

Ayme