Josh, Xander, and I just took an epic Mother/Son/Son trip to Philadelphia. We attended Digital Family Summit, a conference full of families just like us… Heaven! And I think this photo describes how we felt about the conference perfectly.
I have to be honest I was a little skeptical how a conference geared towards families with teens and tweens would work. But, on a leap of faith I flew across the country with my kids, then I was amazed. The food, the parties, the sessions, and the activities were top notch. It was hard to believe this was a first year conference given how few glitches there were. And YES, if you are a digital family, I would 100% recommend this conference to you.
Xander and I were invited to speak on a panel called “The Family That Blogs Together” along with the McGraws and the Perrins. And while Xander doesn’t “blog” he is a digital content creator. Xander’s YouTube channel is nearing 3,000,000 views and he earns a monthly check through YouTube’s revenue share program. Needless to say… I could learn a few things from him. Actually, all the teens on the panel were poised, smart, and an inspiration.
While speaking I was asked a question about our family’s stance on technology limits. And, we have none. We 100% believe that technology is the future and why limit the knowledge our kids can gain from access to that? In fact, the jobs our children will have haven’t even been created yet. That is how dynamic technology is. How are they to stay on top of the game with limits?
I know… I know… You are thinking “HOLY CRAP LADY! You are FREAKING CRAZY! What about all the pedophiles, predators, pornography, and unknown evils that lurk within the grasp of your kids? What about homework? I bet they are those kids that text at the dinner table.” No limits doesn’t mean no boundaries. We have very strict boundaries when it comes to our children’s access to technology. Here are some great tips for setting technology boundaries for your teens, tweens, and kids:
Time and Place- There is a time and a place for everything. At school, at the dinner table, and while visiting with family or friends are not the TIMES or PLACES to be using your electronic devices. This can also be called… RESPECT.
Speaking of Respect- There is a certain level of respect required when using technological devices. Respect for yourself, others, and the equipment is beyond important.
- Age Matters- What is right for a 15 year old may not be appropriate for 5 year old.
- Know Your Kids- Spend time with them. Understand their personality. TALK to them. Take an interest in what they are doing. This will help you create boundaries that work for them. Boundaries can vary from child to child.
- Filters- Safety filters are important for a multitude of reasons. Online predators and pornography are just a couple of the best ones. They will also help keep your kids from downloading viruses and spyware. Many filtering software’s will allow you to set up multiple accounts so you can set specific parameters for each child.
- Privacy is for adults- Know your kid’s passwords to everything. Facebook, Twitter, gaming sites… EVERYTHING. Children are entitled to love, care, and guidance from you… Privacy, not so much.
- Stay Updated- You don’t have to win at Mario Kart or Just Dance to keep yourself informed about the latest technology. Know what your kids are using and stay involved in keeping yourself updated on what’s coming around the corner.
- Schedule, schedule, schedule- Kids should have schedules. Chores, school, showering, work, homework, exercise, friends, and family and just a few things that are likely on every kid’s schedule. And those things are important and should be completed before “free time”. Each day set free time where your kids can explore their interests. Whether those interests are technology, reading a book, or twiddling their thumbs.
So, yes, my kids have no limits, endless possibilities, and a whole lot of structure.