Summer is here! Well, sort of. As of the end of this week, my kids will be out of school and now begins the interesting part of parenting—keeping them occupied without sticking a screen in front of their face for 10-12 hours. I know, that seems crazy considering what we all do for a living, but I've learned the hard way that these kids can get into trouble quickly when left to their own devices. (Yes, that was a tech pun)
Because I worry that you might have the "mechanic's car syndrome"—where your personal tech might be lacking some needed updates—let me explain some things I've learned and deployed recently.
Kids are sneaky
Well okay, I'm sure that's not a huge surprise. If kids suspect you're reading their text messages they will find a different way to communicate things they don't want you to know. Keep an eye out for third party messaging apps like Skype, SnapChat, WhatsApp and others. Have a conversation with your spouse (or co-parent) about whether these apps should be allowed.
No, kids are really sneaky!
Did I mention that kids are finding new ways to chat with friends? With the dawn of Chromebooks in the classroom comes a new method of communicating that I never even would have considered. Kids will open a Google Doc and share it with the person(s) they want to chat with. They'll type out their messages and delete things as-needed.
I'm curious what other methods kids are using to sneak around these days.
Tech I've used
So I've recently worked with the Ring products. I've installed their doorbell, floodlight cameras, and alarm system. It's recommended to put these smart home devices on their own network to keep your home devices safe.
I also use OurPact for controlling what apps can be used and when. There are other tools out there like Bark, Apple Parental Controls, or Google Family Link, but I chose OurPact.
I'm always looking for more fancy tech to help with my "Parental Controls," so if you have any cool suggestions just add a comment and let me know!
Most importantly, talk to your kids
All the tech in the world won't prevent you from having scary, but important conversations with your kids.
Sorry to drop all this heavy stuff on you, but every week I write about my experiences and what's on my mind.