How much is too much screen time?
This can be a difficult question to answer as each family dynamic is different. When you see your children using their devices, ask yourself the following:

  • Is it high-quality content that your children are engaging in?
  • Is there a balance with other, non-tech activities?
  • Are children using their screen time to learn and create?
  • Or are kids just using these tools to passively consume?

As parents, you can:

  • Check your own screen behaviors; are you a good role model for finding a balance?
  • Come up with other ideas; instead of technology
  • Keep track of the time that you and your child are spending with digital devices.
  • Talk to your kids about the positives and negatives of too much screen time.
  • Define the devices as tools, not pacifiers.

Common Sense has a great for Parental Concerns – please take a look if you have a moment.

Resources:
How much screen time is okay for my kid(s)?
How much screen time is healthy for my kids?
How to Set Screen Rules That Stick

How can I help my child be safe online?
While understanding that the Internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, students need to be guided on how to use this incredible tool as its significant functionality also comes with some inherent dangers.

As parents, you can:

  • Talk with your child; make sure to check in with your child about their online lives
  • Create an ‘at home’ media agreement with your child
  • Talk to your child about Internet safety rules; don’t assume
  • Keep technology in a central location
  • Be a role model for your child in using technology safely and effectively

Resources:
Privacy and Internet Safety
How can I keep my kids safe online (BBC article)

What should I do if I think my child is being cyberbullied?
Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. Many times, students are reluctant to tell an adult as they feel they might have brought this on themselves or don’t want to tell on someone. At school, we try to stress that it is important to protect yourself. When a student reports this sort of behavior, he or she are not only protecting themselves but others that he or she might not know about. At school, we tell students the following; please use at home as well:
Don’t Respond
Block the Bully
Capture It (cmd+shift+3)
Tell an Adult

As parents, you can:

  • Talk with your child; know what your child is doing online
  • Children should only follow people or friend people who they know in real life
  • Stress the importance of keeping passwords protected; don’t share with friends
  • Keep technology in a central location

Resources:
What is Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying

What is IICS doing to help my child be safe online?​
IICS understands the importance of helping students become responsible, safe, and positive users of technology. As such, IICS held its first Digital Citizenship Week in November 2015 to help continue to create a school culture which promotes the safe and responsible use of technology. This week also included a PTA Coffee Morning. Additionally, each student that is enrolled in IICS must sign an Acceptable Use Policy (please see below) as well as classrooms lessons throughout the year that focus on all aspects of Digital Citizenship.
Primary Technology Acceptable Use Policy
Secondary Technology Acceptable Use Policy

If I am not comfortable with technology, how can I help my child?
Our first response is to remind you that as parents, even if you are not a Google expert, you still come with a lot of knowledge and experience. Remember that your child may be familiar with technology but this does not necessarily make him or her an expert. Familiarly does not equal mastery! Also, ask your child. Chances are they would love to teach you how to use some tools and you might discover that technology isn’t so intimidating. We have also created a short resource list for parents to look to get started.

Should I monitor my child’s use of technology? If so, how?​
Below are a couple of resources that you might want to explore if you believe monitoring your child’s use of technology is necessary:

RescueTime is a free piece of software that monitors your use of technology and sends weekly updates on how productive you are based on what you select are productive activities.

OurPact is a free app that is available currently in the US App Store for Apple devices. It allows parents to ‘set limits on how much time your children are spending on their mobile devices; create schedules, block all Internet and app use.’

Parental Controls are also an option but they depend on what version of Mac OS or Windows you have. Since we do not know this, we cannot give you specific instructions other than to search for “parental controls for mac / windows, operating system ____”. You can also put parental controls on tablets and phones.

A Word of Caution:
No control solution is perfect. The best way to protect your child is to explore new technologies with them and build up a relationship of trust. This way, when they stumble upon a questionable app, website or other resource, they can talk to you about it instead of hiding it from you.

 

Resources: ‘How Much Is Too Much Screen Time (As Parents You Can list)’
“Screen Time for Kids: 5 Ways for Parents to Manage Technology at Home.” The Epoch Times Screen Time for Kids 5 Ways for Parents to Manage Technology at Home Comments. 15 Sept. 2015. Web. 27 Nov. 2015.