Thank you LifeLock for sponsoring this post. Please visit The Smart Talk for more tips on how to prepare your kids to develop healthy online habits.
One of the most common questions I’m asked by parents is, “What’s the right age for a cell phone” followed by “How do I monitor what they’re doing?” and then “How do I keep them off Instagram?”
Keeping an eye on what our kids are doing is important but it’s also important to lay the groundwork about technology and social media by modeling proper use and having conversations about healthy online habits. But where do you start especially when technology has progressed beyond screen time on the family computer or texting friends late at night?
According to stats from my recent work with Cox Communications, these days the average home has at least six connected devices. With constant connectivity to the people we care about most, being a responsible user of technology means protecting yourself and your information, knowing when and where devices can be used, engaging in appropriate interactions with others, understanding what it means to be a responsible digital citizen, protecting your online reputation, respecting others through the photos and videos you share of them, and not being tempted by in-app purchases.
If reading the above made you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath. Every family’s conversation will be different. There’s no need to keep up with the Joneses when it comes to technology but it is important be knowledgeable about the great resources that exists so you can feel empowered to have this conversation with your kids at any age and stage.
Introducing The Smart Talk
A few months ago I was introduced to The Smart Talk. Designed to help families have conversations with their children about using technology, I appreciate that this tool was developed through a partnership between LifeLock and National PTA, two companies that have a long history of making kids, family, education, and safety a priority.
Over the years I’ve reviewed many cell phone contracts, guidelines for home technology use, and other tools for families to facilitate conversations about online safety but I honestly have to say that I love The Smart Talk. The Smart Talk is designed to inspire conversation as parents and kids sit down together to answer a series of questions about the following 7 topics:
- Safety & Privacy
- Screen Time
- Social Media
- Apps & Downloads
- Texting & Calling
- Reputation & Respect
- Online Videos & Cameras
How to Use The Smart Talk
Have your kid join you, answer a series of questions, and in about 15 minutes, you’ll have your very own personalized agreement that can be posted on the fridge for the whole family to see. While the process is super simple (just 3 steps) and doesn’t take a lot of time, the conversation that happens thanks to The Smart Talk is essential for families.
Right from the start, The Smart Talk is all about personalization as you and your child enter in your names. Then depending on the ground rules you want to discuss, click on the colorful circles to select some or all of the seven topics to create a conversation based on your needs.
Some of the questions are yes/no responses designed to ensure that you and your child cover the most important aspects of the topics while providing food for thought in helpful and respectful way for all tweens and teens.
And not all questions are directed at kids! There are important ones for parents and ones called Extra Credit that help make your agreement your own!
There are also items called Bonus Talk that facilitate a deeper conversation. I happen to love this Bonus Talk question that came up in regards to photos, reputation, and respect.
When you’re done, your responses form a personalized agreement designed for your child.
Easy, right? Yes, it’s quick and simple but I love it because it does a fantastic job of facilitating a conversation about technology ground rules that matter to you and your family.
So what are you waiting for?
When you sit down with your child and set technology ground rules together, you and your family can enter for a chance to win a grand prize trip for four to Walt Disney World!
The Smart Talk Giveaway for a trip to Walt Disney World
Visit The Smart Talk Giveaway site to enter for a chance to win this amazing prize and create your own personalized family contract to encourage healthy digital habits. Any eligible person can enter The Smart Talk Giveaway by visiting TheSmartTalk.org/#/Giveaway link between now and Feb. 16. You can re-visit the page each day to put in an additional entry for yourself. One lucky winner will be selected for a trip for four to Walt Disney World in July 2016. The Giveaway winner will be announced in early March.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of KidzVuz blogger network and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.