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A great way to begin the dialogue with your kids is to sit down and share our Family Media Agreement. This is a simple first step and you will be surprised at how the agreement can set the stage for responsible and respectful media use.
Here is a connection to our Digital Glossary so that you and your kids can discuss technology using the same language. As you go through the glossary, click through on some of the platforms like Instagram and check out “What Parents Need to Know” and browse to the bottom of the page and take a look at “What’s it About” and ”Is it Any Good”, this is how you will get a deeper understanding of the platforms kids are using today. I also think it will be useful for parents to read through our “Three Great Parent Resources for Learning and Attention Issues”. Whether your child has a learning issue or not, this blog is filled with fantastic resources like Power UP – a guide offering great reviews of apps, games and websites that are helpful for all kids, including kids with special needs. Check out my favorite, Dexteria Dots, which will engage your kids and build great math skills.
Next, let’s make sure that parents of younger kids (honestly parents of all kids) take a look at our Parent’s Guide to Kids and Cell Phones.This will guide you through everything you need to know before you buy a kid a cell phone. As I mentioned, Common Sense cannot tell you what age your child should be to have a cell phone because all kids develop at different rates and all families parent in their own unique ways, but we can give you some great information to help you figure out what is the best age for YOUR child to have a cell phone.
*I find that the restrictions vs. guided access can be confusing so I hope this explanation is helpful: Restrictions allow you to remove from view many of the iPhone’s basic features, such as youtube, safari browser, and other things that connect to the internet or enable communications. (They are still on the device, you just can’t see them or access them). Guided access basically “freezes” the device on one specific app, preventing the user from accessing anything else while they are in that app – this is a great feature for kids (or adults) who get really distracted or when you want your kid to only be able to play in one approved app. Restrictions is something that allows users to pick and choose which apps and services they want their kids to use or not be able to use. Guided access is something that blocks access to ALL other apps and features when you are using one specific program.
Moving along, take a look at our Parent Concerns Platform, specifically our Privacy and Internet Concerns. You will see that we have thought of questions you may not have considered; you can click on these questions, based on the age of YOUR child. Also, since we know that kids spend about 7.5 hours a day on a screen, check out our Parent Concerns
Screen Time and find out what types of screen time are better than others!
I hope I haven’t inundated you with too much information, but I did want to point out a great blog about What Parents Need to Know About Kids, Media and Body Image and when you have time, make sure to take a look at our White Paper research report and delve a bit deeper into the research.
Thank you for using Common Sense and please feel free to contact me directly with any specific questions. Have a fabulous week.
All the best,
Bay Area Director | Common Sense Media