Parenting in a Digital Age


The iPad can be an incredible learning tool. Its light weight form factor, touch screen, long battery life, and ever-growing list of interactive apps and digital books make the iPad extremely functional and purposeful as a personal learning device. At St. John of the Cross we believe it is a wonderful technology tool for engaging students in their learning, for providing access anytime/anywhere to student work, and for connecting them to the resources they need for research, project creation, and class presentations. It is also an ideal tool for communicating with teachers and their peers.

While all of these benefits are readily apparent to us as educators, we recognize the iPad may also present challenges. The 24/7 access to outside resources can be viewed positively or negatively. What ground rules can you establish at home to ensure the appropriate use of the iPad?

Establishing ground rules for technology use at home

Families will differ in the daily behavioral expectations for their children. Technology use should be in line with your own family's already established ground rules. Below is a list of tips, strategies and resources for technology use at home.

Designate specific areas in the home for use of technology tools: You may determine that homework and research must be done outside the bedroom, in a location visible to you. In this manner, an adult can monitor technology usage at any moment.

Keep iPad charger plugged into the wall in a main room: We require that students bring the iPad to school fully charged each day. By leaving the charger plugged in a common area of the house, this ensures the device is not only fully charged, but is left in plain sight at the end of the evening.

Shut off wifi: You can shut off wifi on the iPad itself, or even shut off wifi at the house altogether during certain hours of the day. This allows your child to continue to use the iPad for reading, writing or other activity that does not require internet access. As one innovative parent has done, you can even connect your internet access to a sprinkler timer, so it shuts off and turns on at certain times of the day.

Family Media Agreement Form: This form from Common Sense Media provides a contract in clear language between parents and child for appropriate use of technology and proper online behavior.

The above information was adapted from St. Matthew’s Parish School