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My daughter has had a smartphone since starting middle school earlier this year. We’ve talked a lot about online safety and behavior, but the conversations are somewhat random. I let them come up naturally when we’re already talking about something related, and I’m going to keep doing that, because much like the so-called “sex talk,” there shouldn’t be just one “tech talk.” It’s an ongoing conversation that needs to keep evolving as Fiona gets older.
But there are so many topics to cover, I worry that we haven’t covered them all! That’s where The Smart Talk comes in. The National PTA teamed up with LifeLock to create The Smart Talk, an online toolkit to help parents craft an agreement with their kids about how they will use their cell phones. (Not sure whether or not your child is ready for a smartphone? Here’s a handy guide to help you decide.)
Last night I sat down with Fiona for about ten minutes and we were led through a very thorough and organized checklist of topics, covering everything from privacy settings and passwords to respect and hurt feelings. The best part is that there’s no membership or sign-up required, and the whole process is free.
We started out by putting in our names, and then we went through a checklist of items, discussing each one. Since Fiona already has a cell phone we knew the answers for a lot of the items immediately, but there were a few that we hadn’t really nailed down yet, like not sharing birthdays online. I really liked the process because it was collaborative, while still keeping me in charge.
There were also some helpful items for me, such as agreeing not to overreact if Fiona needs to talk to me about something important. That’s critical, because the most important thing is that Fiona continues to come to me when there’s a problem.
Once we were finished we printed the agreement out, and we both signed it. I put in in a folder in our dining room with Fiona’s other important papers, easily accessible. It’s really handy to have all of the smartphone rules in one place, so that Fiona and I can reference them (and she can’t claim that we didn’t talk about something).
Do your children have cell phones? How are you handling the rules?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of KidzVuz blogger network. Opinions expressed here are my own.
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