I have written in the past about parent questions concerning technology in education, but always from the perspective of a teacher at the classroom. Now, I teach grad school classes online to practicing teachers and want to see if those questions are the same.
So I asked my grad school students: What questions do parents ask you about technology and education? Here are the top issues:
How much screen time is appropriate for my child?
Parents worry about the amount of time their children spend in front of screens. They want guidance on setting healthy limits. While many organizations differ in their recommendations, here are general guidelines you may find useful:
- Infants (0-18 months): Screen time is not recommended for infants, except video chatting with family or friends.
- Toddlers (18-24 months): Limit screen time to less than one hour of high-quality, educational supervised content.
- Preschoolers (2-5 years): Limit screen time to one hour per day of educational, age-appropriate content. Co-viewing with parents is the best way.
- School-Age Children (6-18 years): No strict time limits for this age group (because of school needs), but recreational screen time should be less than two hours a day
How can I ensure my child’s online safety?
Parents are concerned about their child’s safety online, from cyberbullying to exposure to inappropriate content. Here are tips to help you protect your child while they’re online:
- Use Parental Control Software: Consider using parental control software or built-in parental control features on devices and platforms. These tools allow you to monitor and restrict your child’s online activities, including access to certain websites and apps.
- Online Etiquette (Netiquette): Explain the concept of online etiquette or “netiquette.” Teach your child to be respectful, kind, and considerate when communicating online and to report any instances of cyberbullying or harassment.
- Safe Password Practices: Teach your child how to create strong, unique passwords for their online accounts and stress the importance of not sharing passwords with anyone, except trusted adults.
- Be Wary of Strangers: Emphasize the importance of not communicating with strangers online. Make sure your child understands that people may not always be who they claim to be on the internet.
- Monitor Social Media Use: If your child uses social media platforms, familiarize yourself with the platforms and their privacy settings. Encourage your child to set their profiles to private and only accept friend or follower requests from people they know in real life.
- Lead by Example: Model responsible online behavior and adhere to the same safety rules you set for your child. Children often learn best by observing their parents.
How can I monitor my child’s online activities without invading their privacy?
Balancing supervision and trust is a common concern. Parents may ask about strategies for monitoring their child’s online behavior while respecting their independence. Here are a few suggestions:
- Use Parental Control Tools: Utilize parental control software or built-in parental control features on devices and platforms. These tools can help you monitor and filter content without directly invading your child’s privacy. Be transparent with your child about these tools.
- Discuss Online Etiquette: Teach your child about responsible online behavior, including the importance of respecting others’ privacy and not sharing personal information online. Discuss the potential consequences of irresponsible behavior.
- Review Privacy Settings Together: Sit down with your child to review privacy settings on social media accounts and other online platforms. Help them understand how to control who can see their posts and information
What can my child and I do about cyberbullying?
This is a challenge, but not without solutions. Kids need to know that cyberbullying is not their fault. It’s kids trying to exert control over them. Seeking help and standing up for themselves shows strength, not weakness. . Here are some tips:
- Don’t Share Personal Information: Avoid sharing personal information online, such as your address, phone number, or school name. Cyberbullies can use this information to target you further.
- Block and Report: Most social media platforms and websites have tools to block and report abusive users. Use these features to stop the bullying and alert the platform administrators.
- Save Evidence: Take screenshots or save any evidence of the cyberbullying, including messages, comments, or posts. This documentation can be useful if you decide to involve authorities or school officials.
- Talk to a Trusted Adult: Share your experience with a parent, guardian, teacher, or another trusted adult. They can provide emotional support, guidance, and help you decide on the best course of action.
- Practice Online Safety: Review and update your online privacy settings. Limit who can see your posts and personal information. Be cautious about accepting friend requests or messages from strangers.
- Encourage Positive Online Behavior: Be a positive influence online and encourage others to do the same. Promote kindness and respect when interacting with others on the internet.
- Support Others: If you see someone else being cyberbullied, don’t stand by silently. Offer support to the victim and report the bullying. Cyberbullying affects not only individuals but also the online community as a whole.
Do these look like the types of questions your parents ask? I’d love to hear your feedback.
Here’s the sign-up link if the image above doesn’t work:
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.