“Dad, can I go on your computer?”
“That’s enough time on Facebook, Emily, let’s get going on that homework”
“Charlotte, turn off the Wii it’s time for dinner”
“Mom, where’s the phone charger”?
All of these snippets of conversation can be heard in the Laurance household on a regular basis. Technology. Love it or hate it, computers and phones and other digital media are here to stay and they are a huge part of our children’s lives. As parents it is important that we educate ourselves first about some of the potential issues and then speak with our children in an understanding way about our concerns.
I believe our conversations with our children around technology should be based on the values we hold dear in the Beechwood Community.
Kindness. The entire Beechwood Community should be promoting kindness amongst our students. It is not OK to hurt others with our words. This belief does not change when our children are interacting with others on their computers. Our children need to know that harassment or bullying is not allowed amongst our students and, if they are engaged in these activities, in any form, they will have consequences. If your child is being harassed or bullied online, they should let an adult know immediately.
Discipline and Self-Control. Being on the computer, talking to friends or texting classmates is fun. It is a way for kids to be close to their peers when they are away from school. But there must be limits. When these interactions begin to interfere with physical activity, completing schoolwork, sleep or participating in family time, it is time to come to an agreement about when it is OK to use the computer and phone and when it is not.
Safety. Your child needs to be smart about who they are interacting with when they are on the computer. If something feels inappropriate they should let you know right away, just as they would if they had an inappropriate interaction with someone at a park or while walking to school. Strangers can be dangerous and it is important that our kids not share personal information with people they do not know.
Yahoo has some great links to look at in order for you to get more knowledgeable about what our children are faced with when they use their machines. Please take a look at the following if you have a moment: safely.yahoo.com/teens/
We will continue the conversation about technology with our students here at school. I trust that it will be ongoing in your homes as well.