Use Technology for Good, Please!

How do we support future learners/leaders? Education is both a profession and a lifestyle. You may believe you HATE learning or going to school, but I don’t believe that is true. Learning is reality if you are alive. We all learn through necessity. If your car has an issue, go to YouTube or Google and find the “fix”. In some cases, this “fix” will cause new issues. How many times do you try to build or assemble something before you actually look at the instructions? This is LEARNING in its most basic form. Learning through doing is important. 

When my wife and I decided to have kids we read all of the books. We read about parenting, baby safety practices, the newest gadgets, what to purchase, and MANY more. When our son came, WE WERE READY! Reality hit hard when he turned one month. Simon was a colicky baby. He cried all of the time. We purchased all of the “things” that we learned about to help this nonstop screaming. We learned through necessity. We learned through adversity and judgment from others. I can not tell you how many times I cried because of the stress of Simon’s constant screaming. We survived through learning and educating ourselves over this situation. 

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As an educator, it is my job expectation to learn. I must educate myself to be relevant. As a parent, I must educate myself to be relevant to my children. I hear from parents all of the time about how the internet is controlling their kids’ lives. The real question is, what are you doing to help your kids understand balance? Do you set limits on their devices? Do you limit their digital access? Do you allow social media and how are you monitoring their presents on these platforms? Just like when Simon was a baby I have to learn NOW how to support him while he finds balance. This is not easy and has caused a lot of screaming and crying, just like when he was a baby. 

Let’s start with cell phones. My family use Apple devices and the parent controls are great. All management access is done in ios without any other apps needed. Learn more using this link from Apple. I limit time on apps, set up bedtime, end times, and start times that limit who they can communicate with. I can even remove access to the app store! I know what my kiddos do on their phones ALL OF THE TIME. I educated myself on this process and I learned how to keep them safe the best I can. 

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If you are an Android user I would recommend Kite, which is also free. I know there are other apps that can do the same, but this one I know works and have used. Kite settings will follow your kiddo. It works through their Google account including Chromebook’s, cell phones, Microsoft devices, and other devices that use Chrome or have a Gmail account. 

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How about Microsoft including Xbox? You can manage this through Family Link. This includes All Microsoft products including Xbox consoles. You can choose who they can chat with, play with, games they can play, and time limits for all devices. With this program you will know what they are doing at all times. 

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We have one real job as parents and educators. That job is to educate and support our kids. In this digital world we can do this by setting boundaries. In the classroom procedures are in place to keep kids safe and free of learning distractions. At home this is tough to do, but with the right tools and conversations it can be achieved. 

Your partner in education and parenting,

Douglas Greek EdD

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