Students interact with electronic devices daily at home and at school. With the many advantages electronic devices provide us with, setting parameters to ensure safe, responsible and ethical use of technology is important. Below are some guidelines for parents to implement with their children:1. Set an example. Your children need to see that you have limits around your own technology use. They will notice if you don't walk the talk. Show them that you prioritise face-to-face relationships over screen time.
2. The same parenting rules apply to your children's real and virtual environments.3. Always set limits: excessive screen time has a range of negative effects on the brain.
4. Designate 'Device-Free Times' for everyone in the family - mealtimes, bedtimes, family outings, car rides and visits to grandparents.5. For Primary or younger Secondary students, locate laptops and computers in an open, public space in the home. If older students (from about Year 10) need a quiet place to work e.g. study or bedroom, keep the door open.
6. Aim to make all bedrooms technology free zones, including TV and mobile phones. Disconnect from all technology at least 30 minutes before going to bed. Turn off the modem when it is getting late.7. Place the charging station for all devices in one central location.
8. It is important to check the age suitability of movies, apps and games. There are helpful reviews from Australia and the US. Remember to ensure all media content is consistent with your family's values and standards.9. Quality and quantity both matter. There are thousands of apps available for children. Choose wisely to separate the mindful from the mindless.
10. Get involved. Without being overbearing, talk about your child's latest digital creation, game level or favourite app. If your child thinks you are too busy or don't understand technology, it will be difficult to discuss media choices with them.11. Keep up to date about online safety. Most social media services have a safety centre where you can learn about safe site use as well as report abuse, offensive content and cyberbullying.
12. Familiarise yourself with the safety and privacy settings of popular games, and whether they require your child to spend money. Read these helpful gaming tips for parents.13. Use a parental control tool to help you monitor and limit your child's online activity, on all devices. There are excellent free tools e.g. K9 and Qustodio. Certain internet service providers offer Parental Control and Homework Time for all devices connected to its service. However, be cautious: no tool provides perfect protection. Nothing can replace your personal attention and monitoring.