Your Teen on a Screen

On Wednesday evening I attended a Heart2Heart talk at the Epworth School in Pietermaritzburg on online/digital health for teens and also on how parents can best manage theire childrens online presence.

Trish Fiendero facilitated the evening and gave a few pointers on the subject. I myself do not yet have kids of age that needs to be guided with regards to this, but am very interested in the subject of technology.

Technology, especially online media can be good if you are in control of the media, but if the media starts to control your behaviour the red lights should start to come on for you and your family.

Here is a few pointers from Trish. If you want to read more on the subject from a Christian perspective I would highly recommend Andy Crouch’s book “The Tech Wise Family” for families and “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport for an ever online working adult.

  • Limit unfocused time on screen
  • Not to be used as reward of punishment.
    • the risk is that your teen will be afraid to talk about their online presence when it is linked to reward and punishment.
  • Employ different layers of protection:
    • Physical: Screen free zones, and also screenzones
    • Screen free times:
    • Router level: PiHole / Adguard Home / VPN
    • Device level: Time limits and parental controls
      • Parental control Apps:
        • Bark
        • Custodio
        • Kaspersky Kidz
        • Life360
  • Let your teen have safe people (go to people other than parents)
    • If you do not want to talk to your mom or dad, who do you want to talk too?
    • 3 people
    • Update list 2x per year
  • On social media and onine gaming
    • Beware of:
      • Sexual predators
      • Disappearing messages/pictures
      • Addiction
      • Pornography

Online Health:

  • Create moment to live in real life. Let them experience a real life relationship.
  • Good question to let them ask themselves: “Would you do/say that if you were chatting in real life in a coffeeshop?”
  • Set appropiate bedtimes.
  • Balance.

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