Technology Guide for Parent
The Pike School Tech Department

To help families navigate issues related to parenting and technology we have listed many realities, issues and solutions below.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns please contact the Tech Department.

Useful iPad Settings
If you find that your child is having difficulty staying on task some of the settings and suggestions below may be helpful, in addition to encouraging students to be aware of what distracts them the most and developing strategies that can help with self management.

Do Not Disturb
In settings you can turn on Do Not Disturb to silence all alerts and messages.

  • Tap Settings > Do Not Disturb.  Choose Manual to turn on Do Not Disturb or Select Scheduled, to set a schedule.  Another option is to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to Open the Control Center and tap the crescent moon.  Click here for more details.

Turning off Notifications
In settings you can turn off notifications permanently for individual apps in Notifications. Click here for more information about notifications.

Parental Controls
Restrictions allow you to set device-wide restrictions that will always be enforced. For example, you could prevent your kids from using certain apps, prevent them from installing new apps, disable in-app purchases, only allow them to install apps with appropriate ratings, prevent access to certain websites, and lock down other settings. Settings you select here can’t be changed without the PIN you provide.

To set up Restrictions, open Settings and navigate to General > Restrictions.  Enable Restrictions and you’ll be prompted to create a PIN that you will need whenever you change your Restrictions settings(be sure write this PIN down in a safe place).  For parental controls to be effective, this 4 digit passcode should not be shared.  It is also recommended that iCloud passwords not be shared with your child to prevent inappropriate app purchases.

For more information about restrictions click here.

Tips and Strategies for Parents

Doug Fodeman and Marje Monroe from eKids Consulting (formally known as were at Pike to do a presentation for the Upper School.  Please find an adapted version of many of their suggestions below.

  • Have frequent conversations with your child about online safety and decision making online. Click here for suggestions on how to talk with your child about being online.
  • Know the passwords for all your child’s accounts including email, instant messaging, Facebook and gaming sites.
  • For children under 11, read and censor email, consider not allowing instant messaging or social networking sites and carefully monitor use of YouTube
  • Discuss the responsibilities of communication and remind children that it is never ok to bully or be bullied online.
  • Avoid social networking sites until you feel it is age appropriate.  If your child does have an account, monitor their activity.
  • Limit the list of “buddies” or “friends” on instant messaging and social networking sites.  Tell your child they should know their “friends” in person in order to “friend” them online.  No friending strangers.
  • Consider not allowing texting until high school.  Check carriers for parental controls for texting on smart phones.  If this is something that you do allow consider setting clear limits and boundaries for texting and chatting.  Monitor what time of day texting is used via your phone carrier to be sure that there is not high activity during school hours etc.
  • Separate homework from Internet free time at night.  Allow your child a set amount of time for free Internet browsing before they begin homework time.  Set clear limits on all technology time and activities.
  • Research and check out gaming sites and video games before letting your child use them to avoid exposure to inappropriate images.  Common Sense Media has reliable ratings and reviews for many games.
  • Discourage online chatting within games, especially games that are rated M for mature.
  • Encourage children to keep passwords private and create strong passwords using numbers, letters and characters.  Good passwords should be at least 8 characters in length.
  • Only allow devices to be used in public places in the home, and not in bedrooms.
  • Keep in mind that your best tool is frequent conversations and clear rules in your home. Click here for suggestions on how to talk with your child about being online.

Internet Skills Our Kids Should Learn:

  • Don’t friend bullies
  • Think carefully before posting jokes or images that could embarrass someone else
  • Report threats, cruelty and meanness.  Encourage kids to tell you when they feel unsafe or mistreated online.
  • Be kind and respectful online
  • Offer support to friends being harassed or bullied
  • Guard your privacy and reputation online.  Take your online reputation seriously.
  • Resist the urge to click
  • Look where a link points to before clicking if in doubt
  • Take responsibility for individual postings and behavior
  • Stop and think before you reply; If angry or upset DON’T REPLY
  • Be skeptical online.  Just because something came from a friend’s account, doesn’t mean he/she sent it
  • Never take a quiz or survey or respond to ads
  • Clicking the “Like” button has risks and reduces privacy
  • If it seems too good to be true it is
  • Check your accounts and privacy settings once a month
  • Carefully review the apps using your account.  Be aware of what privacy information you are sharing.
  • Parent passwords should NOT be known by teens.  Parent email should remain private from children.

Taking Action: What to tell kids and what to do as a Parent

  • Keep in mind that Massachusetts laws offer protection
  • Speak out against cyberbullying and cruelty
  • Keep lines of communication with your child open and safe
  • Listen with compassion first and work on strategies second
  • Work in partnership with teachers and your child’s school
  • Encourage your kids to report bullying and not be a bystander
  • Set clear limits on technology use and friending behavior
  • Remember that the best approach is to continue to be vigilant about what your kids do online and not to allow them to use technology without an adult present to monitor their activity.  Having frequent conversations about what exactly they are doing is also recommended.

Helpful Resources:

Common Sense Media is an excellent resource for parents

Watch Director of Technology Aaron Hovel and Head of Upper School Colleen Welsh give a presentation about Raising Children in the Digital Age  in the fall of 2016 at the Pike School.

The Pike Library has hard copies of the excellent government publication Netcetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online which is also available as a dowloadable PDF.

Net Family News: Advice for parents on cyber life and bullying

Wired Safety

OnGuard Online

Parent Device Contract Ideas:
A Parent/Kid device contract could help parents and kids establish clear expectations.

HealthyChildren.Org – American Academy of Pediatrics:
Family Media Plan

The Big Disconnect by Catherine Steiner-Adair
Steiner-Adair examines ways in which the wonders of technology and media also change how children learn and grow, and shows parents and educators how to reap the benefits of tech while reducing the risks it poses at every stage of child development.