Two things happened recently which brought technology into sharp focus in our household. The first was when my laptop died a horrible, untimely death after Mr 6 accidentally (argh!) knocked a cup of tea over it, which caused me reconsider letting him use the replacement for playing Minecraft. And the second was him bringing home a family media agreement from school.
With the introduction of computer programming into the Australian Curriculum in 2018, and with an almost 7-year-old in the house, the time has come to start thinking about how we will fulfil his technology needs.
The immediate solution was fairly simple: I set up an old Mac Mini with a secondhand screen that has been hanging around the house for a while and I installed them in a central location. Mr 6 has his own login, with Parental Controls and is allowed access at certain times of the day.
Enter stage-right, the family media agreement.
The agreement stipulates both the responsibilities of the child as a new-age media consumer (things such as responsible behaviour and privacy) and also the responsibilities of us as parents.
Having two tech-savvy parents is advantageous for him but until now we’ve been fairly restrictive with technology use. The family media agreement made us realise that we have a role in teaching him responsible technology use and also those basic skills he’ll need as he grows up. It also highlighted to us that we needed to take the steps required to ensure his privacy and safety, such as installing parental controls and filters (I’ll post more on these as I learn more).
Technology, in particular social media, has moved at such a fast pace that it’s all still pretty experimental when it comes to children and their use of it. Which makes it important to learn as much as we can about, keep the conversation lines with our kids open and monitor their use of it. The family media agreement is a great conversation-starter for parents and their children.
If you are interested in the Family Media Agreement we signed, it was this one on Common Sense Media: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/pdfs/fma_all.pdf