This is a sponsored post
Last weekend I had the opportunity to co-host a brunch for fellow blogging friends (aka local social media influencers) with AT&T to have a conversation about how we use our phones and since we’re all moms of tween girls, I seized this opportunity to include our tween daughters. I know smartphones are the hot topic among parents these days. If you’re not wondering what age is the right age to get your child a cell phone, you’re wondering what model phone and plan to get, how to ensure they’re using their new device properly, and ways to ensure they’re not racking up excessive charges by texting friends and downloading apps.
Emily is a new cell phone user who was proud to get her first smartphone before middle school started. We’ve had many conversations about the role our devices play in our lives, their care, and how they’re to be used. I know that while today’s conversations may be about smartphones and social media in the blink of an eye she’ll be going on her first date and getting behind the wheel. So as important as it is for me to talk to Emily, it’s also important to have a conversation as a community because it does take a village, an informed village of like-minded peers and parents who can stand together and support each other.
Knowledge is power. Informed kids and parents are empowered to make good decisions and AT&T’s Digital You program has a wealth of resources that can help us navigate this increasingly complicated digital world with our kids.
About AT&T’s Digital You Program
This comprehensive program that offers tools, tips, apps, and guidance for parents and kids. Digital You includes tips for parents in their Especially for Parents section that includes guidance about the many questions I’m frequently asked. It features information about managing device usage, staying safe online, handling issues like cyberbullying and your online reputation, and protecting devices. I personally love the “Is your child ready for a cell phone?” free printable checklist, family media agreement, and knowing that tools like SmartLimits exist to help us manage Emily’s smartphone usage to keep her safe. And since I am super protective of my kids’ digital footprint, I love that AT&T has a PDF I can share to facilitate a conversation about the importance of digital footprints and private photo sharing that I can share with fellow parents.
There’s also the Especially for Youth resources for kids of all ages that help explain the huge advantages and disadvantages to being connected and risks and rewards associated with them. As we teach our kids to create an online identity that reflects who they are and they can be proud of, these resources can help. There’s information on how to get the most out of being online in a safe way whether texting, creating a movement with a viral video, trying to help a friend who is a victim of cyberbullying, and tips on protecting your privacy on social media.
Since kids of all ages learn by doing, have them try the Digital Compass game via the online game or app (iOS and Android). This educational game was developed in partnership with Common Sense Media’s education division and is designed for kids to explore digital dilemmas and experience the results associated with good (and not-so-good) decisions, and try out possible solutions through stories and mini-games without risking their real-world reputations.
It Can Wait Texting & Driving Simulators
Emily and her tween friends are at the age where they’re incredibly impressionable even though at times they can be quite opinionated. They’re at the perfect age to understand advantages, disadvantages, risks, and rewards of their digital behavior and an important issue is texting and driving. It’s hard to believe in just 3 1/2 years, my daughter will be getting behind the wheel so now is the time to ensure that my husband and I are modeling proper cell phone behavior by showing her that texts, emails, and calls can wait if we don’t have a hands-free way of checking our phone when we’re driving.
AT&T’s It Can Wait program has been around for a number of years and is a campaign my kids are very familiar with why it’s important to take a pledge to not text and drive, it’s one thing to talk about it and model expected behavior versus experiencing it for yourself. While Emily isn’t of driving age yet, she and her friends got a virtual taste of what it was like to be in a car thanks to virtual reality goggles that put them in the driver’s seat as texts and phone calls were coming in.
The girls agreed that while the virtual reality goggles were cool, it was hard to avoid accidents while trying to check your phone. Seeing is believing especially as virtual reality becomes reality for these girls and us, as parents.
For parents who want to recreate this impactful experience for their tweens and teens who think they’re invincible, AT&T’s texting and driving simulator is available for free online via their It Can Wait: Let’s Drive simulator. I love that we’re educating a new generation of kids who know it’s not cool to text and drive before they get behind the wheel thanks to virtual reality and online simulators.
It was a pleasure to work with AT&T to host an important conversation with fellow mothers and their tween girls and special thanks to Chef Alex Garcia and A.G. Kitchen for rolling out the red carpet for us during brunch! This group of foodies LOVED the delicious Cuban food and the opportunity for a special meet and greet with the chef plus taking home a lovely gift certificate that will allow us to return with our families soon.
This post was written as part of a compensated partnership with AT&T.