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Introducing technology and responsible use

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    Introducing technology and responsible use

    Everyone here is so supportive and helpful that I have to pick your brains, again.

    My son is a young eleven. He is not a very socially mature eleven year old, meaning that he typically behaves more in line with his younger peers. He does not have cell phone. He does not have unlimited or unmonitored t.v. time. He can play limited amounts of WII or XBox without internet access. He has an ipod, but it's the kind that has no internet or radio access, just downloads that mom and dad choose. He is vaguely aware of the internet, and he knows that we might Google or Youtube for more information sometimes. He has never been allowed to try the process on his own. Unlike other families, when he has a question we can't readily answer, my go-to suggestion is to get a book about it at the library.

    I do want him to be able to use the technology responsibly so I need to introduce it . One of the things I do in my professional life is give talks at the local middle and high schools regarding responsible use of technology and social media, as well as discussing criminal misuse and the consequences. But my own poor kiddo hasn't has the talk because he hasn't used either technology or social media.

    Any suggestions on baby steps to start allowing it perhaps in conjunction with school? Anyone else this limited in their technology use?

    DS12- SFL, Elem Greek II, CC III

    Re: Introducing technology and responsible use

    Following along! My kiddos are younger (8, 6, 6) but have also never used a computer, iPad, iPhone, etc. In fact, we just bought a set of encyclopedias so they can look up information when they are curious!

    Though I know we will need to introduce it sometime, I am quite unsure of when and how.
    "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." - W.B. Yeats

    Educating with MP from Day One!
    Currently using 2nd, K, and SC1


      Re: Introducing technology and responsible use

      Hi Rae,

      I have an almost 11, too, but I also have 3 adult children. They were our guinea pigs for our parenting decisions, ha, ha.

      Seriously, just get things going in a moderated, monitored way. Every child of this generation WILL need to be computer savvy. That means that they need to spend time developing "technology intuition": the ability to think intuitively about how technology works. Personally, I do NOT have it. I have tried, I am an adult, for crying out loud, but I am all thumbs when it comes to intuiting where and how to do many things. I can hand my phone to my kids and they know intuitively how to make things happen.

      But, please don't think I am advocating unlimited, unsupervised use. Far from it. Our kids had flip phones at 15 yrs, smart phones when they went to college, don't own an Ipad, etc. Teaching responsible use takes time, and honestly, you WANT your child to make mistakes while he is close to you. You will have a greater scope for gentle correction when he is 11 than when he is 14.


      PS: I am also a "no social media, maybe ever, but certainly not before high school" kind of parent.
      DS, 26 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace), recently completed the design and execution of unhackable military software... in his spare time.

      DS, 24 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

      DD, 21 yrs, Senior in Education at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC

      DS, 12 yrs, currently attending a classical school which would give HLS a run for its money.

      All homeschooled.

      Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling. Ahhh....


        Re: Introducing technology and responsible use

        We started small. They had just a few websites they could visit. Cool Math Games, Scratch, etc. I allow Netflix kids for my younger ones--we don't have cable or satellite so we stream or get videos from the library. As they've gotten older, I've allowed more freedom and currently use Disney Circle which limits and monitors some things. It doesn't limit what's available on apps like Amazon Prime or Netflix, so it doesn't block everything. It does limit them to certain hours of the day, so I can have "school hours" and bedtimes set up.

        As far as social media, my 16yo just got a FB account and really just uses it to keep in touch with family. She also just got a smart phone for her last b-day. She has been emailing a few friends for years, as they've all moved to different areas. She hasn't given me reason not to trust her, so I keep giving her more freedom as she gets older. My oldest two spend lots of time on the computer. One is into digital art and the other is into programming. I look at it as their electives and do allow them quite a bit of time to pursue their interests.

        It's such a delicate balance between control and freedom. I have had a few issues to address over the years and we have had many discussions on topics like online privacy, pornography and cyber-bullying.
        Last edited by HollyS; 07-22-2018, 11:36 AM.
        mom to:
        DD 16 & DS 13--8M
        DD 11 & DD 8--3A
        DS 4--jr. K


          Re: Introducing technology and responsible use

          We started with online things I trusted to scratch their tech itch a bit. Typing lessons,, EWTNkids. We use an app on my phone (rather than a traditional device) for a violin tuner/metronome. We listen to audiobooks through my Google play via a Bluetooth speaker to their bedroom.

          None of these has much risk, but it gets them familiar/comfortable with the tech world.
          Amanda - Mama to three crazy boys (7A, 6M, 2), classics major

          "Non nisi te, Domine. Non nisi te" - St. Thomas Aquinas


            Re: Introducing technology and responsible use

            I just wanted to chime in because I am right there with you. My oldest is 11 and we are sort of petrified at what's to come. If I had it my way, this whole technology revolution would completely go away. I just want to go back to the days of reading real books on the front porch, kids actually talking to each other instead of texting and social media, and an occasional good movie for a treat. In reality, I know this isn't going to happen but I am sure stretching out their childhoods as long as humanly possible. Right now, there is limited tech in our house. We do have an ipad but the kids aren't allowed on it. We use it occasionally for homeschool, but my older kids aren't homeschooled anymore so they don't have access to it for educational games anymore. As for TV, they watch only on weekends, and only what is okayed by us for an hour or so.

            I guess we're pretty limited huh? But it works here. Nobody really complains because they know the TV is off M-F (did that originally because I had 5 kids constantly begging for tv and then arguing about what to watch) we just took it away. Guess what they do instead? They read and go outside! So a win win here. I realize that may change someday, but like I said, it's working for now.

            As for computer-no, not really anything. They don't have phones (although have recently started asking) but that is something that will be a definite NO until many years from now. Social media? No way.

            Am I worried they won't be tech savy? No way. Tech is changing every day and they will be able to hop on board with whatever comes their way when the time is right, just as they did this year-their first year of public school. They were just fine.

            So, no advice really, but I agree that small doses is probably the way to go, and lots of conversations. I don't want to parent out of fear, but on the other hand, I'm certainly not going down this road any quicker than I have to.


              Re: Introducing technology and responsible use

              Sounds like we are in the same boat as everyone here (not surprised! ) but we are a bit farther down the path so I will share what we have done.

              We have similar limits throughout the week as far as all screens/devices go. We do use my phone and an iPad for Quizlet, but that is all that my non-high schoolers do on devices. My high schoolers often have online classes or need to write up their assignments on the computer. Everything (phone, iPad, and computer) are password protected, so in order to do anything they have to bring it to me, and then they have to stay in a common area with someone sitting nearby. This is it as far as school-related use goes.

              Then there is non-school use. We have a wii, but they only play it about once a week after Saturday Straighten-Up is done. Everyone gets a turn, which means its either Saturday or Sunday before all the turns are done. We do watch movies, but we are really really picky. We have one set of standards for up to about 10; then another for up to about 14; and then it really comes down to the individual child and when he/she is ready for something. Since our little guy needs me to put him to bed at the same time the older kids are wanting something to do, we often let them watch something together on Fridays or Sundays. (More often in the summer) My dh and I join in as long as we can keep our own eyes open!

              All of these precautions have been working well. It is not perfect, but it helps a lot. The biggest difference I have seen, both in our own home, and in the lives of friends, is the situation of a child having a device of his/her own, or having unmonitored access to a device. This is where young people just don't have the restraint needed to make good decisions. It is nearly impossible for them. So we have found it to be the case that keeping personal devices away as long as possible has been really good. They still learn how to use them from their limited use, and so they are still developing the "technological sense" Jen mentioned, but they always have a buddy - what they used to call a "chaperone." There was a reason young people needed them then, and the same reason exists for them to have them now - just with technology! I know of college students who live together in houses who have these exact same standards - all computers and devices are used in the common room only, with others present. I am trying to teach my kids habits they can keep for life to help them no matter how old they get!

              We have just crossed over though; our oldest had a trip to visit a college this week, so we had mercy on her and upgraded her (formerly my) ancient flip phone for one that would be more reliable - and have a map! But we already let her know that we expect the same standards for her that we keep for ourselves - no social media, period. No mindless surfing the web. It's a tool, we have specific things we use it for, and the rest of the time it sits on the counter. Thankfully, she gets it, and its not a hard sell with her. She has also seen what it has done to friends who got smart phones a lot earlier than she did. She has definitely had examples of what she does not want to do herself (sadly,).

              And the rest - takes prayer. Constant, constant, constant prayer. Every decision, every time. tons of praying.

              16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
              DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
              DS, 16
              DD, 14
              DD, 12
              DD, 10
              DD, 8
              DD, 6
              DS, 2


                Re: Introducing technology and responsible use

                You gotten some wonderful suggestions and encouragement. I had one more idea to consider. Your public library may have digital databases that provide safe searches and other resources that can be accessed from home. When I taught high school, we taught the kids how and why to use them instead of Google or Wikipedia.

                dd- 3m
                ds- SC 1
                dd- SC B