The internet has been abuzz with Safer Internet Day #SID2017 which is intended to do what it says on the tin, provide ideas and education around ensuring a safe online experience for youngsters taking in everything from cyber bullying to use of safety filters and of course the elephant in every family living room, screen time management.

Use talk not tech to tame your children's online habits

An old chum and collaborator Alan O'Donahue posted an interesting read By Mark Ward
Technology correspondent, BBC News entitled 'Use talk not tech to tame your children's online habits'.

It talked about the sensible controls that the author has in place in an attempt to manage screen time/uage with his chidlren:

  • Device specific controls on the internet router to manage use/limit net time (how manay peopel do yo uknow and teachers who sugegst you just pull the plug on hte router when th ekids go to bed - dont they watch BBC iPalyer or ever have to work after bedtime?)
  • Locked down tablets and smartphones
  • Software on PCs to filter out unsuitable content and viruses

He also described how many of these techniques his kids eventually worked round requiring him to revert to the age old approach of educating his children on best practice.

Enter the M&Ms

My answer to that is where the biggest bag of M&Ms comes in. For that is what the internet and all you can eat gaming is to most kids. I personally have never bough a large or small bag of M&Ms on a drive and not eaten the lot in ten minutes and both myself and my kids are well aware of the dangers of sugar and tooth decay. Sorry I don't buy the education only route.

Parent eye views

It all reminded me of the Kidcrafters parenting event I threw together a couple of years ago, at the Royal Institution where I launched STEAM Co.

Just after a wonderful talk by the (then) teenage tech editor of the Sunday Observer Dan Tomlinson and before a similarly killer talk by Google Labs European creative director, Steve Vranakis, we heard from four parents: a sreen free mum, a free screen dad, a Minecraft dad and a child psychologist.

Screen free mum

Free screen dad

Minecraft Dad

Child psychologist

How are you helping your staff

It never ceases to amaze me how little many people know about this subject and the things they can do to help their kids manage their screentime   which is why I put this little lunchtime 80:20 course together. 80% of what  you need to know in 20% of the time - from setting your internet hub so you can use the web and watch online TVwhile the kids can't after bed time, simple screentime management tools and other stuff to look out for.

More info here.