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© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Parenting Guidelines: Are We Losing Our Children On The Information Superhighway? Dr. Charles D. Knutson Brigham Young University www.charlesknutson.net
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson How important is this? How much effort should we make to protect our children from access to content and time spent online? They're going to be exposed sooner or later… Agency is the ultimate protection, so isn't it sufficient to just teach them correct principles? 2
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Principle of inoculation They will be exposed, no matter what we do But it's still healthier to limit the level of exposure Duration of exposure Severity of exposure Which of these kids is worse off? 17-year-old with a 5 year porn habit? 15-year-old who just stumbled onto it? 3
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Parental responsibility We have a responsibility as parents to lead in this area Teach our children correct principles Coach them through the challenging years through to adulthood Adolescence is the time to make mistakes in a loving and supportive environment 4
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Elder David A. Bednar If the adversary cannot entice us to misuse our physical bodies, then one of his most potent tactics is to beguile you and me as embodied spirits to disconnect gradually and physically from things as they really are. In essence, he encourages us to think and act as if we were in our premortal, unembodied state. And, if we let him, he can cunningly employ some aspects of modern technology to accomplish his purposes. 5
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Elder David A. Bednar Please be careful of becoming so immersed and engrossed in pixels, texting, ear buds, twittering, online social networking, and potentially addictive uses of media and the Internet that you fail to recognize the importance of your physical body and miss the richness of person-to-person communication. Beware of digital displays and data in many forms of computer-mediated interaction that can displace the full range of physical capacity and experience. 6
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Parental application Talk given by Elder Bednar in a CES fireside to young adults Applicable to us as individuals Applicable to our goals for parenting our children in a technological generation 7
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Parenting styles Authoritarian Exert external control No not foster internalized control "Children of authoritarian parents lack the internalized control to independently make good choices when they are in situations in which no one is telling them what they should do." -- Nancy Willard 8
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Parenting styles Permissive Do not exert external control Do not foster development of internalized control "Children of permissive parents have no internalized control to support responsible decision making, because no standards and reasons for the standards have ever been articulated for them." -- Nancy Willard 9
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Parenting styles Authoritative Clear standards for children's conduct Discipline is supportive, not punitive "Authoritative parents take the perspective that their job is to empower their children to independently make good choices. [They] foster the development of internalized control based on values, standards, and effective decision- making strategies." -- Nancy Willard 10
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson A huge statistic! Only 23% of households have any rules at all about what children can do online! 11
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Limit worldly influences "Because children have high levels of exposure, media have greater access and time to shape young people's attitudes and actions than do parents or teachers, replacing them as educators, role models, and the primary sources of information about the world and how one behaves in it." -- American Academy of Pediatrics 12
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Teen attitudes This kid didn't learned to dress like that from you... So where did he learn this?! 13
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Parental involvement 70% of youth are getting information about life and morality from teen magazines Images, attitudes, fashion, etc. Consider sources for your kids' attitudes and beliefs How much does the world influence their standards and beliefs about life? 14
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Parenting Guidelines Technological issues Requires that we become somewhat tech savvy Relates to access to and use of electronic devices Relationship issues Ultimate spiritual and emotional protection Healthy relationships are paramount! 15
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Limit access to technology Limit access to appropriate levels You have to decide what that is It's probably not on the order of hours and hours each day No child should have unlimited access A computer The Internet and/or Web Gaming consoles Cell phone 16
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Limit technology access No child should have unlimited access to ANYTHING Ok, fresh air and sunshine… and love… Rewards based on other healthy behaviors from the real world Homework, chores, exercise, reading Tie things back to the real world 17
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Built-in babysitter Prior generations… Kids plugged into the radio Kids plugged into the TV Kids plugged into the VCR Kids plugged into the DVD Now… Kids plugged into the Internet Kids plugged into the gaming console Where do you draw the line...? 18
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Computers in kids bedrooms Don't! Even if the computer isn't connected to the Internet Other ways to bring in content CDs, USB drives, etc. Small, cheap WiFi adapters can be easily installed Piggyback on neighbor's WiFi Time management is an issue 19
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Family computer location High traffic areas Still not a guarantee that inappropriate access won't happen Still need filtering software and other controls Still need to control amount of time kids are allowed to be on the computer 20
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Controlling access User accounts on computer e.g., Kids account with constantly changing password No special software required Separate accounts for each child Potential management nightmare for parents 21
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Use content filters Limits exposure to various sorts of content Limits access times, days, number of hours Reporting capability Keeps parents in the loop when issues arise 22
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Portable devices Laptop Generally not a good idea pre-college Very difficult to manage student behavior Time, content iPod (video and/or music) Content difficult to manage Video iPods can display inappropriate content Emotionally isolating 23
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Cell phone concerns Internet in your child's pocket or backpack Consider having a pool of cell phones that can be checked out Check texting history Check for Web browsing access Check the phone bill for purchases Ring tones, pictures Most will allow the phone user to turn on Web browsing for a fee 24
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Cell phone concerns Unrestricted access to cell phones and texting Leads to emotional separation from family and immediate physical circle Leads to stronger emotional bonding with random influences outside the family Opens child up to various kinds of remote access from individuals Predators, cyberbullying, sexting, etc. 25
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Limit technological power Kid cell phones should be the wimpiest cell phone you can find Mega-featured phones (like Apple iPhone) are just asking for trouble High resolution graphics Fast Internet connectivity YouTube button 26
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Empowered parents This is an issue that is within our rights as parents We have permission to protect our children Do not abdicate your responsibility in this area! 27
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Parental involvement Columnist Sydney Harris was once asked by an anxious parent, "How can I get my 16-year-old son to mind me?" He answered simply, "Shrink him down to six months and start over, differently." 28
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Parental involvement Ask your children to show you what they do on the Internet Be aware Time spent on the computer Spiritual impact on your child Doesn't have to be "inappropriate" to have a severe negative effect Does the screen change suddenly when you appear in the room? 29
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Danger signs Unhealthy attachment to devices Obsessing about whatever it is when not able to access it I tend to limit anything they pester me relentlessly about 30
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Parental involvement Safest possible way is to always surf with your children May be impractical in a big family Preemptive strike Don't wait for an incident to teach Periodic Family Home Evening lessons Family Councils Be very frank and direct 31
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Age appropriate activities We use age levels for many activities 12 – YM/YW combined activities 14 – Stake dances 16 – Group dating Apply similar age appropriate guidelines to technology usage… 32
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Age appropriate activities Cell phones Determine whether there's an actual need Does your 12-year-old really need one?! Email accounts Need to learn at some point But requires maturity 33
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Age appropriate activities Facebook or other social networking account Beware certain sites… investigate! Greater dangers in social networking Identify theft, online predators, cyberbullying, emotional over-connection, immature acting out Instant messaging Normally requires email to enable Risks similar to social networking 34
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Rights and privileges The bulk of technology falls into the domain of privileges, not rights Applies to The child's access to it The parent's ability to monitor the activity 35
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson All kids aren't created equal Kids will play the equality card very heavily But some kids are better able to handle responsibility sooner They demonstrate it in a number of ways Roll out privileges and responsibilities as individual kids are ready for it Even if it's perceived as unfair by the other kids 36
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Parental consistency Your personal life as parents must be consistent with these principles Children can smell hypocrisy! Poor habits send a double message R-rated movies, other inappropriate movies and TV shows Swimsuit edition Romance novels Language, jokes 37
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson When you find something Don't overreact If you're expecting it, easier to be calm Relationship is a must Honesty Open lines of communication 38
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson When you find something Talk to them about the Spirit How did you feel spiritually when you looked at that website? Did the Spirit withdraw or come closer? Why? 39
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Relationship is a must! Everything depends upon relationships between parents and children Children with healthy outlets within their families are the least at risk in any of the many areas of concern 40
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Parental involvement "Every news story that reports some kind of a bad incident happening to a child online—a teen who has run off with a predator, a teen who has committed suicide in the face of cyberbullying, teens who were arrested and charged with attempted murder because they were planning a school attack online—all have one element in common: a lack of parental attention to what was happening online." -- Nancy Willard 41
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Individual agency Obvious ultimate issue Children grow up, become adults, move out of the house While young, they still have access outside your home They must have an internal commitment to avoid evil Cannot be mandated into them 42
© 2009 Charles D. Knutson Questions? Internet Safety Podcast www.internetsafetypodcast.com Internet Safety Wiki wiki.internetsafetypodcast.com Dr. Charles Knutson firstname.lastname@example.org 43
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