We've become a high tech family!
This year has been a big year for us. For the first time not one, not two but three of the boys have gotten their own laptops. The older two got theirs with their starting at a private high school this year and Josh got into the one laptop class for his grade. Also the older two have mobiles now as they are travelling further from home and helps us work out any transport problems.
I was a bit nervous to start with. It meant new rules, new ways of doing things... I am really concerned that the boys don't ever view pornography or play really violent games. In previous years we haven't let the boys play computer games during the school term, as we just found it was to distracting. If you let one kid play computer gamesif they had finished their homework, then all the other boys would come and watch, instead of getting their things done. Plus I think it really limits their playing and active time which can affect their weight and fitness.
In a way the boys having laptops have meant we have had to relax our control a little on some things. They have more freedom this year on what do with their computers. I have noticed a few copyrighted games on their which we have had a chat about. One child has had some violent games, he had to delete that.
We have been focusing on teaching the boys to be accountable when they are on the computer. Which the schools are telling them too, which is great. They all have to have their screens so you can see what they are doing if you walk pass. So they often study at the kitchen table or bench or laptop table.This helps them not play too many games or hopefully too many time wasting activities. We also sometimes check their internet history, to see what they have been doing. Our oldest two boys have seen fellow students suspended from school for having inappropriate material on their computers. So they are fairly compliant for all the parent checks. ( I think they have worked out they either get the parent check and give no resistance or give resistance and get the parent check and the computer safety lecture :D. Smart kids.)
But you know the new technology has kind of been fun too. I can e-mail the boys during the day, send reminders, little words of encouragement. Its been a good tool with communicating with each other.
Keeping up with technology is a challenge for parents. Its a balance between letting kids use technology and protecting them from it too. Some of those chat rooms and that can be really scary. Its hard keeping up with the kids who always seem to know more then you about it. For example one of our kids was showing us how to password protect our phone and another was showing us how you can delete your internet history... great!