Dear Parents,

As the world of technology expands and becomes more and more accessible by everyone, we find it to be more and more important to have open conversations on how to manage everything that goes along with it. What device is right for you? What computer is right for your children? When is it appropriate to use a device? These are just some questions that we ask ourselves. One question or topic that comes up in conversations quite often is about ways to monitor, protect and keep children safe while using the Internet. We put together the following findings from our research on this topic. If you have additional resources that should be shared, or if you have found success using any of the monitoring and blocking parental controls listed below, please let us know. In addition, we will continue to BLOG on topics of interest to you, so be sure to email us with suggestions on other topics.

 

Technology at Home – 10 Considerations

   1.   Define your family’s Technology Principles – What are the main reasons we want to have balance in our lives regarding screen time and other activities?

   2.   Talk weekly with your children about their technology use.

   3.   Designate device-free family time.

   4.   Schedule device-free social activities such as sports, lessons, and volunteering.

   5.   Consider taking devices out of the bedroom during sleeping hours.

   6.   Create a screen time or media contract. (See resources below.)

   7.   Be an educated parent. (See organizations below.)

   8.   Stay abreast of the latest trends through email newsletters. (See recommendations below.)

   9.   Share and connect with other parents.

  10.   Deploy monitoring and blocking strategies in your household.  (See resources below.)

 

Screen Time Contracts

Screen Time Contracts from Screenagers

Common Sense Media Family Media Agreement and Device Contracts

 

Organizations

Common Sense Media - Empowers parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.

Family Online Safety Institute - International, non-profit organization that works to make the online world safer for kids and their families. 


Psychology Today's Parenting in a Digital Age - This blog explores how parents and children might live together meaningfully in a digital age.


Richard Freed, Ph.D. - Child and adolescent psychologist, speaker and author of Wired Child: Reclaiming Childhood in a Digital Age.

 

Email Newsletters

Safe Smart Social – Monthly social media tips and updates

Screenagers Tech Talk Tuesdays – Tuesday emails with conversation starters about social media, research, tech tips and much more to incite a dynamic conversation with your kids

Common Sense Media - Age-based movie reviews, app recommendations, and more

 

Monitoring and Blocking

ARTICLE: Everything You Need to Know About Parental Controls – Great overview of how it all works

Microsoft Family Safety – Block sites, set time limits, and see activity reports

Circle with Disney - Filter content, limit screen time and set a bedtime for every device in the home

OurPact - Mobile guidance for your family, available for iOS and Android
Screen Time - Parental controls for iOS, Android and Kindle devices
Curbi - Parental controls for Android and Apple mobile devices
ParentKit - Control and schedule what is on your child's iPod, iPad or iPhone
NetSanity - Parental controls for iOS
FamilyTime - Parental controls for iOS and Android
Net Nanny - Parental controls for Android and iOS
Mobile Fence - Parental controls and GPS tracking for Android devices
Verizon Family Base - Monitor wireless activity and set usage limits
AT&T Parental Controls - Manage internet and email activity on computers
T-Mobile Family Allowances - Manage minutes, messages and downloads on phones

How to turn on Parental Controls on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch

How to turn on Parental Controls on a Mac with OS Sierra

How to set up Parental Controls for Xfinity Internet

 

Thanks,
St. Anne’s Technology Department

Glen Worthing

Jennifer Worthing

 

Dear St. Anne's Families,

At St. Anne's we currently have Macbooks, iMacs, Chromebooks, and iPads. We often get asked the question: What is the difference between a Macbook and a Chromebook?

A Chromebook is a laptop that runs Google's Chrome OS while a Macbook runs the Mac OS X operating system. Chromebooks are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and documents living in the cloud. As a result, Chromebooks don't have a lot of onboard storage, and they cost between $150-$350. Macbooks have faster processors, better screen graphics, more memory, and can do more complex tasks like video editing. The cost of a Macbook is between $1,000-$2,000. The lifespan of a Chromebook is estimated to be around three years while the lifespan of a Macbook averages around six years. A Chromebook only allows the user to use the Chrome browser while multiple browsers can be used on a Macbook, such as Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.
 
Since we use many online tools at St. Anne's such as Google Drive, IXL, WeVideo, and Typing Agent, the Chromebooks have been a great addition to the school. The iMacs and Macbooks have been great for creating iMovie projects, HyperStudio projects, Pages documents and other offline projects. There has been much debate about which device is best: PC or Mac. Now Chromebooks have been added to the mix. If you have any questions about these devices, please do not hesitate to ask.


Common Sense Media is a nonprofit organization that provides education and advocacy to families to promote safe technology and media for children

Below are a few links to articles published by Common Sense Media that we thought you might find interesting.

Technology should work for you and work within your family values and parenting style. When technology is used thoughtfully and appropriately, it can enhance daily life. But when used inappropriately or without thought, technology can displace many important activities such as face-to-face interaction, family-time, outdoor-play, exercise, unplugged downtime, and sleep.

3 Places Families Should Make Phone Free - This article is about how technology can interrupt our most treasured family moments. Sure, our devices keep us connected, informed, and engaged. However, meals, bedtime, and even time in the car are the three times when we need to just say no to using devices. Click here to read the article.

Kid's Summer Movies Guide 2017 - Since school's out, that means there are even more movies aimed at kids, tweens, and teens. But how will parents decide what's appropriate for their kids? Common Sense Media has a guide that can help parents choose which summer movies are best for their kids. Click here to read the article.

Digital Citizenship is a major topic in the St. Anne’s Technology curriculum. The overall goal of this part of the curriculum is to educate the students about the basics of going online and to help them to become safe, responsible, and respectful digital citizens.


Digital media and technology are evolving at a dizzying pace, bringing with them extraordinary opportunities as well as real risks for our students. On the positive side, students are using the immense power of the Internet and mobile technology to explore, learn, connect, and create in ways never before imagined. On the negative side, harmful behaviors aided by digital technology, from cyberbullying to copying online materials without citations, are surfacing in schools and in homes across the country.


At St. Anne’s the students learn about their connections to others through the Internet and to think critically about how they treat others given this great responsibility. The topics the students are introduced to are:


Digital Life: Students in grades 1-4 learn that the Internet is like a neighborhood. They reflect on their responsibilities to this community and to the community members, both online and offline. They also learn the importance of being a good digital citizen and how to be safe on the Internet. We discuss always asking for permission before using a computer or going on the Internet, only talking or sending messages to people they know, and only going to websites that are appropriate for kids their age.


Students in grades 5-8 learn the importance of having a positive digital footprint, how to find a balance between technology and unplugged time, and how to maintain appropriate boundaries so devices do not impact sleep or relationships.


Connected Culture: Students in grades 5-8 discuss what happens when children gang up on one another online and what to do if they experience cyberbullying. Group messaging is covered in grades 6-8.


Digital Communication: Students in grades 5-8 learn how to communicate effectively using online tools by thinking before they post (considering permanence, unintended audience, and replicability). MS students in grades 6-8 use social media apps like Edmodo to let students use social networks in their classes and learn by doing. They also discuss the right medium to communicate/resolve conflicts and what kinds of conversations are better had in person than via text or social media.


Digital Etiquette:  Students in grades 6-8 discuss the concept of oversharing and what kinds of posts are considered too personal, bragging, or trolling (making a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them).


Respecting Creative Work: Students in grades 3-8 learn about the basic concepts of copyright and how to create online citations. The issue of plagiarism is framed as a matter of respect.

The curriculum emphasizes a balanced approach and celebrates the positive aspects of digital life while teaching students to avoid its potential threats. The Digital Citizenship curriculum is rooted in a model of ethical thinking that starts with the self and moves outward to encompass the entire community. Through hands-on activities, role-playing, and classroom discussion, the students are asked to reflect on how their digital and online behaviors affect themselves, their friends and family, and the communities of which they are a part.