By Dana P. Blum, Bay Area Director for Common Sense Media
After my Common Sense Parent talk at Sea Crest School on November 17th, it is obvious that the school cares deeply about supporting your kids. We also know that all parents are struggling with their family’s 24/7 digital life. At Common Sense, our job is to ensure that all kids, parents and educators are harnessing the power of technology for life-long learning. Our motto is “sanity not censorship!”
We believe the best place to begin the conversation with your family about the digital rules in your home is to start with our simple Family Media Agreement. This is an easy tool to start the conversation and “have the talk.” You can also use our Customizable Device Contract to be very specific about what you expect from your kids and what your kids should expect from you in regard to device usage. I recommend you design the contract together with your entire family. You are the primary role model for appropriate digital behavior, so be sure to set the example you want your kids to follow. Remember, your kids hear 20% of what you say and see 100% of what you do!
The next place I would like to guide you to is our Parent Concerns Platform. We have 13 different parent concerns and each one can be filtered by age. For example, take a look at Technology Addiction and click on teens. You can go deeper and find out if teens can be addicted to video games. This is a great place to go to with specific questions you may have about too much usage of a specific game or app.
Check out our Family Guide platform, specifically the Essential Apps. This particular platform is filled with information on how to pick the best tools for learning. Something I know you are going to love is our live Digital Glossary. The glossary has a complete definition for every platform you have heard about, every acronym you may have wondered about, and a lot of stuff you didn’t know existed. This is a great place to go when you have questions about new apps. Remember, if your kids are using platforms like Instagram or Snapchat, they have agreed that they are 13 and they will be marketed to by companies. Also, I wanted to make sure to send you the link to our Technology Addiction Research and our Common Sense Census: Tweens and Teens Media Use. The research will help you better understand the usage patterns and differences in gender, income and ages. Be sure to keep an eye out for our “soon to be released” research on parent usage!
Also, think about how your daughters can start playing games to increase their math and spatial skills. Not all games are bad, so check out a few of our favorite and be sure to read about them so you can have a meaningful conversation with your kids about what’s happening in their world. Here are a few of my favorite games for kids: Unravel, Mission US: Flight to freedom, Thomas Was Alone, Child of Light.
Lastly, I want to share an important short video to watch with your girls (and boys) about the reality of what they see in the media. I think this Dove commercial is a fantastic way to help our kids understand the reality of advertising.
Common Sense Media is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization committed to helping kids and families thrive in a world of media and technology.