Mama Mantra: Kids + Tech = Parents + Boundaries

Posted January 3, 2018 by Prairie Wife - 6 comments

If you are like us, there may have been a few tech gifts for your kids under the tree. 

There were no smart phones for the Cowkids (we are still perfectly happy with our Gizmo Watch), but Cowgirl G received an MP3 player and Cowboy J is now the proud owner of a Kindle Fire. Until this point our family tech consisted of one first generation iPad that was used mainly for homework and road trips…so this was a big step for us!

parents techBeing the super over protective mama I am, I researched a bunch of ways you can monitor your children with their tech. I’m no fool, and I know we are only going to be adding to this short list as the Cowkids get older.

I believe that we can’t ignore the role tech plays in today’s society. 

As a parent it’s my job to provide my children with the tools they need to navigate this tech world safely and in an appropriate way based on their age and/or maturity level. 

It’s my job to set boundaries, educate my children on appropriate behavior, monitor their use and if necessary, punish them for misuse.

In truth giving my kids tech means more work for me, but I think that’s what it means to be a responsible parent right now.

Below are a few things to consider…

Things to think about when purchasing tech for your kids:

  • How responsible are they?
  • Can they keep track of things like shoes and school books?
  • Is this tech necessary/going to add to their life in a positive way?
  • Can I REALLY enforce the rules and boundaries my child needs?
  • Am I willing to deal with the fallout if I need to take the tech away?

A few more thoughts:

  • If they like music an MP3 player will work just as well as an iPod.
  • If reading is your motivation you can purchase devices that only offer books and no apps.
  • Smart watches and flip phones can be less stressful (and more age appropriate) than a smart phone.

 

In this clip from our local news station I talk about a few ways you can monitor your child’s tech use. There are direct links to the devices and apps I talked about (as well as further explanation) below.

 

disney circleDisney Circle

This is ultimately what we picked to monitor the Cowkids tech use. I like that Disney Circle has the ability to not only notify me when our children are online, but as soon as any new device enters the home an alert pops up on my phone. You can preset time limits on tech usage that automatically turns the devices’ internet access off when the time is up. It makes it easy to reward (or punish) kids with tech time. It also gives clear information about how your children are spending their time online. You can monitor multiple devices and set different levels of parental controls on each device.

Family Locator

Family Locator is an app that uses GPS so you can monitor your child’s location any time day or night. You can set geographic boundaries and receive alerts when your child leaves those “safe areas.” You can also pinpoint exact locations of devices and it’s available to use from your phone or computer.

Family Base

From identifying late night texting to controlling data usage, Family Base gives parents insight and control over when, how and with whom your kids communicate. You can establish time and data controls, block apps and establish parental controls.

Hum

Hum is perfect for families with young drivers! This device/app combo allows parents to keep track of their child’s location, set geographic boundaries and receive alerts when your teen crosses them. Hum also has emergency roadside services as well as vehicle maintenance notifications!

I’m always ready to learn more…let me know if you have a fav app or device that helps you monitor your child’s tech time.

Note: The cold shoulder tunic length sweater is from my PSJustFab box and the Earrings are from my Simply Creative Fashion Box

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6 thoughts on "Mama Mantra: Kids + Tech = Parents + Boundaries"

  1. Bennie says:

    My one complaint about kids and devices today is I’ve noticed young adults have poor social and communication skills. They’re heads are so buried in their devices they’ve become addicted to them. And where I live, a small city, many are too, too busy texting and driving and not paying attention when they cross busy streets. We just had a 59 year old woman hit by a van yesterday. Was he paying attention? Was she paying attention? Was the sun just in their eyes, etc.? I worry the younger generation won’t know how to interact with people going forward.

    As you know – no kids here – but I have parents. My dad was mesmerized by my cousin’s Google Home device over Christmas so I bought him (and me) one. His birthday is tomorrow so last night I went over and set it up for them. I almost want to pat myself on the back. I set up mine last week but I have a wifi with my cable TV device and an I-phone. I had an old wifi router from before my new cable set-up so I plugged it in, crossed my fingers and they can now ask Google the temp, for a joke, nearby restaurants, etc.

    We both need to learn all of its bells and whistles but if it keeps my parents amused and their brains active then I’m all for the many questions I’m sure I will receive over the phone which I might not be able to answer. 😉

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I agree there needs to be balance with tech for ALL ages. Glad you like the google home, it’s SO much fun. The kids even have it tell them stories 😉

  2. Valerie Dusing says:

    Great tips!

  3. Karen says:

    This is very informative! I am going to look into The Circle for sure! Thank you for sharing–I wasn’t aware of any of these technology-aids!
    Also–you are such a natural on television; so much fun to watch!!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      There are some great tools out there! And thanks, it was really fun 🙂

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