Sunday, July 13, 2014

Summertime More Screen Time: Make it Safe Time

In the summer heat, it’s easy to  understand why kids (and their parents) don't want to be outside during the middle of the day. More free time spent inside during the summer, likely means more screen time for kids. 

Technology can help strengthen friendships and open a world of knowledge for our kids, but it calls for some limits during the summer months (and school year, of course). 

But where to start? AT&T's Anita Williams Weinberg has some great suggestions for parents in AT&T’s new Thread magazine.

Weinberg suggests parents arm themselves with some solid guidelines and use common sense to navigate the summer with teens and tech. She offers three simple rules to help kids get the most out of their screen time.

1. Be the gatekeeper: Set up parental controls that limit screen time and phone use, and designate which contacts may (or may not) be called or texted between certain hours. Most popular video game systems and computer operating systems offer parental controls.
2. Know where they go: Make sure kids understand that their electronics are not private. Know their passwords, and regularly scroll through phone and browser histories to spot red flags. Particularly with laptops and tablets, it’s important to keep the technology in a common area of the house — no hiding behind closed doors.
3. Share the fun: Make sure there are times when you can all enjoy tech toys and gadgets together, like family movie nights or gaming tournaments.

Read Weinberg’s full column here, then share your strategies for limiting screen time in the summer.