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Girl participating in online education training class with teacher and other students using laptop at home

Kids, Technology, and Trouble

To say this school year has been weird would be an understatement. Our seventh-grader started school in September with in-person classes, but is required to submit all work virtually and needs a device in class. Whether your child is attending school in-person, virtually, or a combination, the access our children have to the internet makes the hair on my arms stand at attention!

I understand learning how to navigate the web is a useful and convenient way to conduct research, but it doesn’t negate dangers that can outweigh benefits if children are not monitored. Children can easily become targets of bullying and develop low self-esteem. In addition to online predators, the internet presents unhealthy content for all ages. We need to protect our children.

In order to ensure our daughter wasn’t being sent to school with full access to every media outlet and platform available, we invested a lot of time (and unfortunately money) in an effort to monitor activity on her devices. To be honest, managing these devices has seemed like a full time job.

Here are a few helpful tips if you would like to monitor your child’s devices.

  • Research which type of device has the capabilities that best fit your family. Some devices have different monitoring features, plans, and tracking options. For example, I am able to control our daughter‘s screen time and contacts from my device.
  • As the parent, you want to be able to use the features your device offers. Troubleshooting so many features can seem overwhelming. Start with visiting online troubleshooting forums for your product or wireless provider. These sites can be very useful. You can also search for instructions on how to add or delete a feature on the web.
  • Check your child’s feeds, texts, and web-viewing history. Our daughter knows I check her texts and web searches. We have an open dialogue about who she is texting and what she is searching.
  • Stay up to date with the games and apps relevant to your child’s age so that you can discern whether they’re suitable for your family. Not all games and apps are created equal. My daughter is always impressed when I know all about the latest game or app.
  • Networking is a great tool for parents. I found a social media group dedicated to parenting in a tech world. It shares useful tips and strategies for managing the devices in your family’s life.
  • Remember you were a kid once. Take a few minutes from your day and ask your kids to show you their favorite app, or indulge in playing a game of Minecraft or Roblox. If you don’t know what that is, you have some research to do (wink).

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About Adrianna and Ryan Walden

About Adrianna and Ryan  Walden Ryan and Adrianna Walden have been married for 14 years. The two met when she was working for an arena football team in Norfolk where he was playing football. Ryan is a service coordinator with the Chesapeake Early Intervention Program and Adrianna is a Licensing Specialist for Children's Programs. Both have enjoyed teaching CHKD’s "Happiest Baby" class together for the past eight years. Together they have one daughter, who despite early health issues, is now a thriving and happy school-age child. The Walden's also lead a weekly community group through their church for married couples and their children.