Resources for Parenting Digital Kids

Technology will impact your family. Whether that impact is positive or negative depends on how you integrate it into your family including the limits you set. Below are ideas for establishing healthy media usage in your family and dealing with problematic media usage.

Establishing Healthy Tech Use

How can I create a family media plan? The American Academy of Pediatrics offers a free tool for creating your own Family Media Plan.

How do I evaluate if an app, game or movie is appropriate for my kids? You can find digital media reviews at Common Sense Media's site. You can also sign up for their weekly email to learn about the latest tech.

How can I block unwanted sites? One way to do this is to use the OpenDNS service to block it at the router level.

How do I set restrictions on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch? Apple provides instructions for setting parental controls and restrictions.

How can I monitor my children's phones to help keep them safe? TopTenReviews provides reviews of the best software for monitoring cell phones.

Where can I find a summary of the recommendations for healthy media use? You can find a healthy media recommendations right here!

healthy use of screens for families

What internet rules should I be setting? Here's an example of internet rules:

Family Internet Rules

What should I do when my kids complain about being bored when not using digital devices? Have them write down non-technology things they like to do on slips of paper. Put those paper slips into a container. The next time they are bored, have them draw two slips from the container and choose one of the activities. If they are struggling for ideas, they can get Boredom Busting Activity Ideas from other kids.

boredom busting blanks  boredom busting ideas

Why should I be avoiding all screen time for my baby/toddler? Screen time negatively affects young children's development.

Limiting Babies Screen Time

How can I help my kids learn about advertising tricks on the internet? The PBS site "Don't Buy It: Get Media Smart" is designed to help teach kids about advertising.

Handling Problematic Tech Use

What are warning signs that I need to set more limits on my kids' screen time? These are warning signs of too much screen time:

warning signs of too much screen time

How can I find guidance in limiting my kids' screen time? Dr. Dunckley's free "Save Your Child's Brain" four week email course will help you create more balance in your child's screen usage.

How can I talk to my kids about the problems of porn before they see it? Kids are likely to be exposed to porn on the internet before they are 12-years-old. The Protect Young Minds site offers a free guide for talking to your kids about pornography and internet safety. The book Good Pictures Bad Pictures is a book you can read together with your 6 to 12-year-olds. Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. is perfect to read with your 3 to 6-year-olds.

I just found out my kid has been viewing porn. Now what should I do? Like most parents in this situation, you're probably feeling a lot of strong emotions. The Protect Young Minds site offers a free guide for helping kids who have seen pornography.

What should I be discussing with my teens regarding porn? Discuss your feelings about porn along with your concerns like addiction to viewing porn, objectifying women, portraying violence towards women and the link to trafficking girls for sex. Sexploitation: Helping Kids Develop Healthy Sexuality in a Porn-Driven World will help you talk to your teens.

What can I do if I think my child is being cyberbullied? You can learn about cyberbullying and how to report it at the StopBullying.gov site.

What should I do if I think my child is seriously addicted to gaming, the internet or cellphones? If your child's usage becomes more than you can handle seek professional help. Programs are available like the residential reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program located in Fall City, WA and Dr. Kimberly Young's Net Addiction programs.

Books for Parenting in the Digital Age