How to Talk to Kids About Screens

How to Talk to Kids About Screens

Stay-at-home orders created a new dynamic in homes across Chicagoland. Students set up virtual classrooms in family rooms often next to their parents who also were working from home. This new normal prompted the Chicagoland Lutheran Educational Foundation (CLEF) to create a free Parent Webinar series to help parents navigate these new uncharted waters of distance learning.

Cyber Safety at Home
The first webinar, How to Talk to Your Kids about Screens, featured Liz Repking, founder and owner of Cyber Safety Consulting. A past presenter at CLEF’s Networking Conference, she often speaks to students, schools and corporations nationwide about screen time and cyber safety. During this session, Repking discussed the following with parents:

  • Ideas for talking with kids about screen time
  • Strategies for navigating when, where, and how screens are being used
  • Talking points to help parents make screen time decisions

Repking advised parents to create a digital roadmap for their family.

“Make some big decisions on how kids can use technology including location of devices, what is a free use in home, how much time spent on devices, start up and shut down times,” Repking says. “And discuss how you will spend time offline as a family. With whom kids can connect with online and create a parent/child agreement for technology.”

Given the increased screen time with remote learning and sheltering in place, Repking said it is important to give kids time offline as a family including:

  • Engage in activities together
  • Make a bucket list of non-tech things to do
  • Create family tech free time each day
  • Plan the night before for tech and non-tech time for the next day

One parent asked what is the best age to allow kids to have social media sites? Repking shared what she told her own children, “I said in my house you have to be 13 to and phrased it so its negotiable by saying: You are eligible at 13 to use social media.”  She acknowledged this is where the digital road map can have its greatest use in determining when parents want to have their child start using social media. She reminded parents every social media site has an age limit to platforms. She also shared important cyber safety tips since many students are online longer making them more vulnerable to cyber predators.

In closing, Repking suggested to parents to make some concessions for the situation right now as these are unprecedented times but to continue to have family discussions on how you want technology to look like in your home this summer and fall.

To watch the entire webinar, CLEF has made it available here for parents.