New Devices at Home? Start a Technology Contract for Kids

Did your child receive new devices in the new year? Devices are often a tricky area to approach to navigate as a parent.

  • How much is too much screen time?
  • Am I depriving my child of value learning opportunities by taking away their devices?
  • What’s the social need for children and online connections?

These questions – and so many more – impact parents today.

Luckily, parents can find many tools to help keep their kids safe when they explore the internet. And, of course, there is no replacement for good old-fashioned communication and trust.

Start with a device contract put in place as a family. Children sign behavior contracts in elementary school and practice contracts for after school teams and activities. A technology contract lets you and your kids set the framework for how devices will work in your home.

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Too Much Screen Time for Kids? 7 Easy Tips to Manage Devices at Home

Children aged 8 to 12 spend, on average, nearly 6 hours per day exposed to media – watching TV, playing video games, online messaging, or listening to music online. The internet can be an enriching and educational resource for kids, but excessive exposure can lead to harmful effects.

What do you do about it? Especially now that the holiday season has passed, and with it have come new presents and gadgets around your home for the kids to play with. Whether you’ve gotten your child a device as a present, or they were gifted one by another loved one, we’ve compiled some tips to make it easier to manage those devices at home right from the get-go and make parenting during the New Year less stressful.

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9 Fun Holiday Activities for Kids Away From the Screen

The holidays are a wonderfully festive time, filled with food, family, and fun. But they can also be stressful. You have family coming over. Kids are on vacation from school, and they’re spending all of their time at home. It’s easy to give yourself a break and let the kids have some playtime on their devices. Are there any screen time alternatives for your kids to occupy their time? Not to worry. We’ve curated some fun, screen-free activities from trusted sources across the internet.

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9 Holiday Shows and Movies (And More) to Inspire Gratitude

A meaningful holiday season is more about spending time with loved ones and creating meaningful memories than about shiny new toys and presents. Research shows focusing on gratitude regularly and mindfully can improve physical and emotional health, strengthen immune systems, and increase overall well-being and happiness.

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But, how do we get our children to cultivate a habit for gratitude amidst a season of wish lists and gift exchanges?  In addition to dinnertime or bedtime rituals to encourage thankfulness for daily blessings, curling up with classic movies and culturally diverse media can help reinforce positive messages and kick off a conversation about gratitude.

Get started with the 16 movies, books, and apps highlighted below.

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Using Digital Media to Teach Kids About Gratitude

Thanksgiving is about counting our blessings and expressing appreciation. But should being grateful be reserved for just one day a year? So many studies now show a gratitude mindset, when practiced daily, can lead to happier lives. What a wonderful skill and muscle to develop as a family and with our children.

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The holidays can mean travel time, out of school time and – extended family time. For many families, it can also mean – screen time. As you’re navigating what to put on your children’s screens, try the media below to cultivate a sense of appreciation and gratitude through the storylines there.

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7 Ways To Encourage Mindful Technology Usage at Home

Research shows that children ages 5-16 spend an average of at least six hours a day on their screens. Children having this level of accessibility to screens and devices at home is a relatively new phenomenon, but research already indicates that too much screen time negatively impacts children.

Since access to devices and screens aren’t going away (and will likely only increase), parents now look for opportunities to give children the mindset and toolkit to live with technology, especially as they grow up and make their own choices. We’ve curated 7 top tips that encourage children to be mindful of how they use their devices at home so they can receive the positive benefits of technology, while avoiding the downsides of overuse.

Happy African American mother and her little daughter using laptop.

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Beware of Cyberbullying: 9 Apps To Watch Out For

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Cyberbullying can happen at any time. Abuse and harassment online often follow children home from school, and kids often feel like there is no escape. As a parent, you want your child to be able to explore the internet safely. And they can, with adequate knowledge of the risks involved. Check out our blog for tips on keeping your child safe online.

It’s also important to be aware. Here is a list of sites and apps where cyberbullying commonly occurs.

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7 Tips On Keeping Your Child Safe Online

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Children learn about stranger danger from a very young age. We remind them about the importance of their safety whenever they step out of the home. Those same cautions should be applied to the cyber world.

Children are beginning to use the internet at younger ages. They have access to oodles of information at their fingertips and the ability to network instantly across distances. But there are some real risks and safety concerns when it comes to the world wide web.

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Popular Teen Apps Parents Need To Know (Part 2)

Part 1 explored safety concerns and hidden dangers of social apps popular with teens today. But the more we researched, the more risky apps and websites we found. So today we are bringing you Part 2, an investigation into more popular teen apps.

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Popular Teen Apps Parents Need To Know (Part 1)

On average, teens spend about 9 hours a day using media. With summer break, that number may increase. The apps most popular among teens and tweens may seem harmless; however, there are real safety concerns that parents need to be aware of:

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