Resources for Parenting Around Technology

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 teach my kids to be safe online? Google's Be Internet Awesome site and game teaches kids the about digital citizenship and safety.

How can I monitor my children's online activity and block unwanted apps or sites? Parental control software allows you to monitor and block unwanted content. A router with parental controls can help keep kids safe on any device connected to your Wi-Fi. Common Sense Media's "Parents' Ultimate Guide to Parental Controls" covers many options.

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

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.

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

Limiting Babies Screen Time

Handling Problematic Tech Use

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 Defend 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 Defend Young Minds site offers a free guide for helping kids who have seen pornography. Ran Gavrieli's Ted Talk "Why I Stopped Watching Porn" is excellent for understanding the consequences of watching porn. Fortify is a science-based online program for quitting porn and teens can subscribe for free.

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 site.

How can I report my child being sexually exploited online? You can contact your local law enforcement. You can also file a report with the CyberTipline sponsored by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

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.

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.

Dr. Dunckley's free "Save Your Child's Brain" four week email course can help you create more balance in your child's screen usage.

Books for Parenting in the Digital Age