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Technology Tips at Home

Cyber safety is an important parent-child discussion to revisit frequently, from elementary school through high school. Experts warn that children are most vulnerable to online dangers while in their own home. The following suggestions are drawn from a wide variety of professional sources that may aid you in effectively guiding your child’s use of the iPad and other technology devices.

Filter Access
Filtering software is not built in to the iPad. While many potential dangers are filtered and blocked on the school’s wireless network so students can’t access them, children often have complete, unrestricted access to inappropriate sites at home. Experts strongly suggest installing software to filter and block inappropriate content on your wireless home network.  Here's a short, two minute instructional video for you describing how easy this is to do with free OpenDNS software.  Some products offer additional protection features such as cell phone filtering, text message and photo screening tools, and digital footprint/reputation monitoring. Read more about filter options. 

Set Expectations
Make a Commitment to use Technology Safely & Appropriately
Regularly share your expectations with your child about accessing only appropriate sites and content, as well as being a good person when online (even when parents aren't watching). Outside of school, it is likely that your child has already been confronted with multiple opportunities to access content that parents wouldn’t approve, such as pornography, hate sites, celebrity gossip, reality tv personal blogs and more, all of which may influence your teen's beliefs, values and behavior. Understand that your teen's use of many technologies (such as iPods, video game systems, and cell phones) likely gives your teen the ability to connect to unfiltered public wireless networks (such as in a library or coffee shop, by picking up a neighbor’s wireless signal, or connecting to the Internet through a cell service). Therefore, it is important to maintain regular, open dialog about Internet use and access. Discuss your expectation for appropriate use and behavior.

Monitor & Limit Screen Time
Experts suggest having teens surf the Internet in a central place at home, such as the kitchen or family room, rather than away from adult supervision or behind a closed door. Know what your child is doing with technology and how his or her time is being spent. Technology can be a great tool and resource, but also has the potential to be a big distractor. Help your child learn to focus on completing tasks or assignments first before spending time on games, shopping and social networking. Teaching today’s children how to manage multiple sources of information and potential distractions is a critical life skill, one best learned before heading off to college or the workplace. 

Put the iPad to bed, but not in the bedroom
Parenting experts suggest parking all technology devices, from cell phones to iPads, in a common spot overnight to discourage late night, unmonitored use and sleep disruption. Don’t allow your teen to sleep with the iPad, laptop or cell phone. Remember to model appropriate use and balance of technology in your own life, too! 

More helpful websites with technology safety tips for parents: