Monday, March 12th, 2012
To celebrate the launch of his new book, The Modern Parent’s Guide to Kids and Video Games, we asked tech expert and dad Scott Steinberg to share his top tips for making technology fun—and safe—for the whole family.
1. Be a Proactive User
“You can’t teach the rules of the game if you don’t comprehend them yourself,” says Scott. He recommends keeping tabs on new products, and taking them for a spin to see if they’re suitable for your kid.
2. Corral Devices in Common Rooms
Scott suggests keeping game consoles, computers, and other devices out of kids’ rooms. Keeping screens in sight allows parents to monitor kids’ play patterns and time investment, and see who they’re interacting with online.
3. Guard Your Privacy
Though social networks might feel intimate, they’re anything but private. Customize privacy settings to limit access to photos, status updates, or videos of yourself only to pre-approved viewers. Remind kids to keep mum about information such as names, addresses, birthdays, and telephone numbers.
4. Utilize Parental Controls
Take advantage of the built-in parental controls that come standard on many devices. Even clueless grown-ups can configure these user-friendly settings to limit and filter questionable content. Think about what works for your family, whether it’s blocking racy R-rated films or confining chats to pre-approved friends lists.
5. Create and Enforce House Rules
Set limits on screen time, and discuss when kids may use high-tech devices and which sites they can surf. “Kids should feel comfortable approaching you with questions about rules and content—open, honest discussion is paramount,” says Scott.
For more of Scott’s expert advice, download his book at http://www.parentsguidebooks.com/.