If one of your children will be graduating this season, be it from elementary, middle, high school or college, it is likely you already know the new gift that they have in mind…a sophisticated new piece of technology.
As a proud parent, you may well bestow the coveted device on the accomplished graduate, whether it’s a smartphone, computer, wearable, tablet, or gaming console. And as a good digital parent, you know the drill: it’s time to do some research, sit down with your child, and have a serious conversation setting conditions and expectations around using that device.
But there is one thing you may have overlooked – and that is what happens to the technology that is being replaced as it shuffles its way throughout the family. Take your middle school graduate, soon to be off to high school, and to whom you are planning to give a new iPhone 6? He likely already has an iPhone 5 – and we bet it’s not going into the trash. More likely, a younger sibling, or perhaps even you or your spouse, will be inheriting the “old” device. Let’s say you decide to give the iPhone 5 to your daughter, a 6th grader. It’s her first smart phone, so now, she decides to give her iPod to your 7-year-old son. He used to access the internet only from the family laptop, and this will be his first ever encounter with apps. Suddenly you have a lot of new devices floating around, don’t you?
It’s important to keep tabs not just on new technology, but on new possession of technology – because every time a device changes hands, the rules of the game are different.
It’s important to keep tabs not just on new technology, but on new possession of technology – because every time a device changes hands, the rules of the game are different. You need to make sure that you set the rules and adjust the settings in order to keep the content accessed age appropriate and to keep your family safe. Here are some tips to help you:
This is the most obvious one, but make sure you don’t overlook the brand new device!
When a new member of the family takes possession of a device, it’s important to reassess.
If a younger child will be taking possession of a device for the first time, it’s time to start at square one.
As the Cyber Safety Expert for STOPit, I give presentations to both children and parents about being safe in our digital world. One of the themes that I am constantly focusing on with parents is that of the “teachable moment.” A new device in the family presents a wealth of opportunities to create teachable moments with your kids. Remember, they are writing their “digital book” – and with your example and guidance, you can help them make sure it’s the one they want read.
Cover image courtesy of Flickr.