I used The Smart Talk digital tool to start a conversation with my 12 year old son about online safety and appropriate digital behavior.
The Smart Talk website was created by LifeLock and National PTA so that parents can have clear conversations with their children about using technology. This new site walks parents and children together through the ground rules your family would like to establish regarding texting, screen time, social media use and more digital media issues that families face today.
Here is Charlie with his new personal smart phone as we began walking through The Smart Talk together. Going through the questions as a team about what we believe would be unsafe, unkind and unwise behaviors was easy and low pressure. Because an external website was bringing up the issues, there was no argumentative tension.
We were able to discuss parental controls on Charlie’s devices, shared passcodes, account set-up and passwords together without pressure. I am so glad that we did this while Charlie is a brand-new smartphone and personal email user because it meant that we did not have to correct any current practices. We also discussed social media usage on Instagram, Facebook and other sites that he is currently too young to use, but might use next year. Our discussion about kindness and positivity towards friends online, via text and through digital photos, and the importance of keeping his digital footprint clean and respectable, was a great talk.
Charlie and I also established that he is only allowed to communicate online with family and friends, full stop, and we talked about the implications of communicating with unknown persons. Sharing and posting passwords, addresses, when he is home alone and his birthday are not allowed, and we discussed why these privacy rules were important.
It may sound like this took a long time, but the process was fast while being comprehensive. When we were finished, we received a personalized, official family agreement of our guidelines. Although The Smart Talk does not save our information, we the McFaddens could store our agreement on my computer and print for later reference.
In addition to this cool contract you can earn another gift from The Smart Talk: an all-expenses paid trip to Walt Disney World for a family of four!
Visit The Smart Talk Giveaway site to enter for a chance to win this amazing prize (no purchase necessary!) and create your own personalized family contract to encourage healthy digital habits. Any eligible person can enter between now and Feb. 16, and you can re-visit the page each day to put in an additional entry for yourself. One lucky winner will be selected for a trip with their family in July 2016, and the winner will be announced in early March.
Take it from Charlie and me, two people who looooooove going to Disney World with our family, you have to enter!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of KidzVuz blogger network and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.