Risks of parenting via technology tools
Children need to be given chances to make mistakes, to learn and develop good habits. Talking about issues, mistakes and missteps is important.
It may be easier to configure your router to limit screen time to 30-minutes per evening with a 7:30 bedtime than using parenting tips to set boundaries. But some children will jump to multiple screens and use up all their screen time on entertainment instead of doing their homework. So these tools only go so far.
Monitoring Your Child's school account
Every SLVUSD student has a google account under @slvusd.org with access to email (gmail), google docs, google classroom, hangouts and other google applications. Your child can give you his password or you can ask his teacher. You can do these things:
- Check your student's incoming and outgoing email for insensitive language (or bullying). (Students under 13 cannot send or receive email outside @slvusd.org.)
- Examine work your student has done on his google drive
- Look for current and missing assignments in active google classrooms she belongs to. You may also look at powerschool or schoolology depending on what your teacher(s) use.
Share their Google Drive to check on work progress
If you have your own device like a smartphone, computer, or tablet, and a Google (Gmail) account, you can access your student’s Google Drive to look at the work they have been doing at school (including comments from teachers and peers). This also allows you to see them work in real time on documents and check their progress with homework. Simply have students share all their work folders with your Google account.
Check their Internet history if you suspect inappropriate use
Browsers keep a log of their Internet activity. If you suspect that your student has visited an inappropriate site, you can press Ctrl + H when the Chrome Browser is open to see the history. Students can clear their history, so an empty or limited history of browsing can often be cause for suspicion.
Turn off your home WiFi at appropriate times
(You can also "disable" your home wifi with Disney's circle - see below.)
Many Chromebook features require an Internet connection to function. When offline, the Chromebook can access the Google Docs office suite and quite a bit more with tech-savvy kids. Turning off your home WiFi at night can prevent late night YouTube sessions, or chatting with friends at inappropriate times and provide more time for other activities. Also, you may want to check to see if you have parental controls on your WiFi Access Point. Here are some useful links for setting up the Parental Controls on your Home Wifi Network:
Disabling Internet with Disney Circle
Disney's circle is a $100 device that filters and/or disables home Internet for specific devices. From a parent's cell phone, you can pause the Internet for the entire house or just for the set of devices your child uses. You can set bedtimes, time-limits and content filters. You can get some visibility into what your child is doing on the home internet.
For a subscription, circle can also monitor android and iOS devices when they are not on your home network. Support for chromebooks is not yet available.
See the circle website.
Screen Time and Digital Wellbeing
Both Apple and Google have tools to help us monitor our device usage. These tools are more about awareness than about control.
Controls can be used to limit some things, but they're awkward and not designed as parenting tools the way Disney's circle is.
https://protectyoungeyes.com/blog/ provides some insights into tools for controlling and monitoring.