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Teaching your children to be responsible with technology

When I opened the Dayton Daily Newspaper and read Dr. Ramey’s article on Helping Kids Manage Their Electronic Worlds, I smiled.  Our oldest decided to use the monies he received from celebrations of his 1st Holy Communion and birthday to purchase his personal iPod touch.  Yes, Alex and I have our own “electronics”; Patrick was proud to buy his own iPod touch.

Why did I smile after reading Dr. Ramey’s article?  I was happy in how we handled Patrick’s first real electronic purchase.  Dr. Ramey notes (in bold) the following mistakes parents make with electronics:

Prohibit technology: Like many, technology is used for fun and educational learning.  To help with math and religion studies, we use the text book websites and other recommended app’s.  Our oldest was excited we downloaded Sushi Monster– a math app used at school.   Technology is a part of our world and will be more as our children grow.  Just like nutrition, balance is key for use of electronics.

No supervision: We are nosey.  Fortunately, our boys accept that right now.  Our oldest is now just 9 – we have years of learning, I know.  But, the message we hear: awareness.  Supervise not only for what apps or websites they surf, but also the time being spent on the electronics.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 hours of screen time a day!

Ambiguous expectations: I filed in my brain this article: Mom has Son Sign 18 point Agreement for iPhone.   Why not for the iPod touch?  So, we chatted with our son about situations (i.e.: Do you take it with you to school? Where does it go when you go to bed?). He came up with the conditions.  We were quite impressed with the conversation and his thoughts.  So far, so good!

Over or under reaction to mistakes: Well, two years ago, he did make a huge purchase through the App Store – on accident.  We got that rectified.  We know other instances will happen, but, with the above 3 points, we hope we are on the right track.

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.