Phones, iPads, laptops, and video games may be a big part of your child’s Christmas joy. But after a week of policing your child’s use of their new technology, you may feel slightly less joyful. Electronics are here to stay and as a mom protecting your child while using electronis is your job. I call this guarding the gate to electronics.
An excerpt from The Passionate Mom.
Gate 5: The Electronics Gate
This gate leads to today’s most popular entertainments: television, computers, music, movies, video games . . . I have covered much of why this is a gateway privilege. Anyone, adult or child, can lose himself in electronics for hours a day. I confess: I love technology and the sleek efficiency of what this gate has to offer. Gates are opportunities, but if misused, any gate can be an enticing distraction. (click to tweet) Electronics are not evil. They are wonderful tools for learning and entertainment, but they do require wisdom and self-control. (click to tweet) There are good choices and bad to be made in what you allow your child to watch, listen to, and play. The stakes in the choices are getting higher. Television and movies are more explicit today than even ten years ago. The Internet is bigger and full of pornography. Music can be provocative, abusive, and encourage illegal behavior.
This is a gate that takes constant surveillance. The private and public sectors of our nation have released study after study on the dangers of explicit images and music. Many people will argue that it’s “just” music or a movie, but the studies don’t lie: music and movies do make impressions.
How You Can Guard the Gate to Electronics
There are lots of things you can do to protect your child from the dangers of electronics and to prepare him or her to use self-control when given the privilege:
• Stay ahead of your child. Most parents are behind their children when it comes to the latest in technology. Kids today have social network websites, download music both legally and illegally, publish information about themselves that others can see, enter into online dialogue with strangers, and surf the Internet for the latest information, both good and bad. As a parent, you have to learn what’s out there and how the technology works. In other words, go where your children want to go before they do. (click to tweet)
• Establish accountability. Check up on your kids often. Look at the history of the sites they’ve visited. If they are erasing the history, then you can assume something is wrong; take action accordingly by installing monitoring software. Read the messages they are receiving and sending. You don’t have to do this secretly. Your child should already know that accountability is required for Internet use. Use a contract; you can download one at iMOM.com/tools
• Establish safety parameters. A lot of electronics in stores today have systems in place to protect young users from things they shouldn’t have access too. If you’re placing any electronics under the Christmas tree this year, it might even be a good idea to set the parameters before the gift is received. Check out iMOM’s tech tutorial on how to set parental controls for various electronics.