Personal Device Boundaries and Guardrails

Would you ever hand the car keys to your toddler?

The proposition sounds absurd. While some 16-year-olds are arguably still lacking the maturity necessary to drive safely, society’s chosen laws demonstrate a general agreement that small children lack the brain development to navigate the complex scenarios arising when 4,000 pounds of metal travels at high speeds. We instead provide vulnerable children with transportation solutions tailored to their readiness at various life stages.

Using the metaphor of appropriate stages of transportation, below you will find resources for deliberate and intentional parents who wish to take appropriate steps to introduce personal devices in ways and at times that are commensurate with a given child’s brain development and overall readiness.

Most important of all is a healthy relationship of trust between parents and their children that promotes open, honest, and vulnerable conversations. Children need to know they can safely share and talk about what is happening on their personal devices and walk side by side with their parents as they learn and grow in their responsible use of technology.

[good resources listed here to help parents develop the skills needed to build such relationships of trust??]

PHASEWHY PARENTS ADOPT THISTAILORED SOLUTIONS 
No personal device needed (just let the child be a creative, engaging, non-distracted little one a little longer).
A smart tag can be used to give parents real-time location status of their child. Options include the following:
• Apple Airtag
• Chipolo
• Galaxy SmartTag
• Tile
A smartwatch is capable of texting and/or calling only numbers programmed by the parent. Options include the following:
• Xplora
• Gabb Watch
There are phones on the market that provide texting and calling without opening up all the potential of social media and internet access. Options include the following:
• Gabb Phone
• Flip phone
Smart phones have certain parental-control features native to their operating systems. Helpful websites such as Protect Young Eyes offer detailed parental-control tutorials for a wide range of devices. Apps like Bark can be downloaded to allow parents the ability to receive regular, in-depth reports of all of their child’s activity, including texts, social media, music, and more. And Bark now offers a more advanced smart phone with robust parental controls. Teenagers can also take short courses from organizations like Family Tech University that equip them with awareness and desire to be careful consumers of digital media.
Just as we want our independent teens to wear seatbelts when we are not around, a smart phone absent any parental controls or monitoring can still benefit from device settings and filtering software to block undesirable content. Users can set their own parameters and install apps to help them avoid consuming unwanted material, such as pornography. One example is the Covenant Eyes solution.

Why Parent Adopts This Step

The child’s brain development and maturity would result in any personal device being used, at best, as a toy, and at worst, as an avenue to danger.

Parent wants real-time status on where their child is physically located.

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Solutions

No personal device needed (just let the child be a creative, engaging, non-distracted little one a little longer).

A smart tag can be used to give parents real-time location status of their child. Options include the following:

Click here to add your own text