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Your Child and Technology

10 Tips to Ensure Responsible Digital Citizenship at Home

  1. Limit the use of devices to common areas of the house where parents and family members can also view the screen. This helps promote responsible usage, and allows you to monitor for teachable moments.
  2. Start from a place of trust and common understanding by reviewing the School rules of computer usage, along with Home rules. Where can they use the computer, during which hours, and to do what? Write down the rules and place them somewhere they can easily be reviewed.
  3. Talk about expectations with your child. What do you do if you see an inappropriate webpage? What if another student emails you and it's not about schoolwork? Do you have a list of websites to stick with when doing research? Which sites or apps you are allowed to visit for educational fun?
  4. The School uses web filtering software designed to help parents and teachers limit the content children can access while using their computer. However, no filter is 100% foolproof. Nor is it a substitute for supervision, especially since children of this age start to test limits. Again, talk about what to do if they encounter something inappropriate (press the back button and notify an adult).
  5. The School sets up email accounts for students starting in 4th Grade for school related work only. Students are limited to sending and receiving messages to and from faculty/staff and other St. Thomas School students. It is not intended for socializing. By 8th Grade, students use the email to facilitate Service Learning projects and should be reminded of privacy rules such as never disclosing personal information.
  6. Continue to show an interest in schoolwork, even though it is online or on the computer. Children love to be the teacher – have them show you how they use the computer to do different assignments. Ask them to show you their latest lesson, or to see The Hub (tech help notebook).
  7. If the computer is used as directed, online bullying and other inappropriate behavior shouldn't occur. However, rules are sometimes broken, and you should keep an active dialog with your child to ensure you'll be aware of any problem that arises.
  8. Review the Acceptable Use Policy to remind yourself of the rules that your child must follow.
  9. If your child needs assistance with keeping track of assignments, subscribe to Calendar Alerts and Feeds.
  10. Remind your student to reference The Hub, the student tech help OneNote notebook, when they encounter tech issues.


Sample Home Technology Usage Agreement

I agree to the following guidelines. I understand that my parents may adjust them at any time based on the situation.

  1. I will do my schoolwork at the kitchen counter, and complete it by 6:00 p.m. each day.
  2. Each school day, I will review my planner to ensure that I complete my homework, prepare for upcoming tests, and plan for projects.
  3. When using my school computer, I will only have the software open necessary to do the assignment. For example, if I am writing a poem, I will have Word open. If I am doing vocabulary, I will only have the membean site open.
  4. During study time I am electronics free, except when I need my school computer to do an assignment. My phone will be in the charging station in the family room, and the television will remain off. I will only play music softly that doesn’t distract me.
  5. I understand that my school computer is only for schoolwork, and I won’t use it for socializing, gaming, or entertainment. I will make sure that any websites I visit, or apps I use are school related. I will always ask permission from my teachers if I’m unclear of whether I can use my computer to do things outside of schoolwork.

Create a Family Media Plan using healthychildren.org from the American Academy of Pediatrics.