My girls love to use technology and are quite adept at using many programs. On a regular basis, Natalia and Alexia make videos for school assignments and submit a large majority of their work online through the paperless Google Classroom. The girls also enjoy using technology for personal use.
With everything from laptops, Chromebooks, Kindles, and phones in their possession, the best decision that I made was to establish ground rules for using technology before giving these items to the girls. It has worked well for me and the girls are learning how to use technology appropriately and safely.
Here are the four guidelines that are in place in my home to help educate and protect my daughters in the wild world of social media in 2015.
1. Lights Out at 8 p.m. My mother always said that it was not appropriate to make or receive phone calls after a certain time of night. Since the majority of the socializing that teens do today takes place on social media, it makes sense to establish times when this socializing can take place. The girls do not make or receive texts, emails, or messages after 8 p.m. when I collect the electronic devices and charge them. I do have to say that when they wake up in the morning, the girls have quite a few messages and notifications. It gives me peace of mind to know that Natalia and Alexia get a good night's sleep that is not interrupted by the glow of a screen.
2. Nothing is Private. Everything that is texted, messaged, or posted online is a permanent record that serves to paint a picture of the author. I emphasize the importance of carefully considering things that they post or share online. The litmus test that I have for my girls is the "Nana" test. If they wouldn't be proud to show the picture, message, or post to their Nana, then it should not be posted. Today's texts influence future college scholarships and job opportunities. I try to be an example to my girls through my own use of social media and allow them to see everything that I post.
|Bamboo Charging Station|
3. Talk with People. While it is important to use technology in a mature, appropriate manner, I believe that it is more important to build relationships in-person. The girls are not permitted to use technology during family meals or special events when they should be cultivating personal relationships face-to-face. Ever since my girls were able to speak, I emphasized the importance of making eye contact and having conversations with others.
4. Be Kind and Respectful. Self respect is an important characteristic that teens need in order to survive the social media jungle. Natalia and Alexia know that I monitor their posts every night and must notify me if they change their password. I expect them to respect themselves and others, avoiding negative comments and hurtful online activities.
With education about the proper use of social media and a balance of other extra curricular activities, events, and experiences, teens build relationships and self-esteem in a positive environment.
Some of the Prohibited Apps in My House
Look for another installment to this blog post that will include my favorite apps for students that will help them to be successful in school as well as something that everyone needs to do right now!