Dear Dalat Parents,
Last week we had an article by Mr. Brewster (HS principal) about technology put in the top spot of the Dalat News. His third and final article has some really important ideas and information, so once again his article will be in this spot. I would encourage you to read through it even if your child is in the ES and MS as there are some suggestions that could be considered for any type of electronic or technological device used by your children.
Mr. Karl Steinkamp
In the last two weeks we have looked at the impact that technology is having on education. I have written about the steps that Dalat is taking to both teach students to be wise consumers of digital media as well as to protect students from exposure to the darker side of the web. This week I want to answer the question “What can parents do to keep kids safe when they are not on campus?”
The first thing that I always tell parents is to remember that “you as a parent or guardian are the boss.” High school students can begin to act and believe that they are independent and starting to be “in charge” of their lives. This can especially show up in the area of privacy and their expectation that you must respect it, but you have the right to set reasonable expectations for the use of the iPad both at home as well as any time a student is not on campus. Think about what works for your family, and do what you can to keep your student safe through rules and established boundaries. I also encourage parents to feel comfortable to enforce reasonable bedtimes, encourage students to get exercise, and ensure students live a life away from the iPad.
Here are some other steps to consider implementing. Remember, most smart phones have the same (or more access) than the iPads, so the rules might need to be the same for them:
- Set the rule that your kids are not allowed to use the iPad in their bedrooms.
- Have a public charging station set up in your house and require that the iPad (and smartphones) are left there at night rather than taken into the privacy of a bedroom.
- Require iPads to only be used in particular places/chairs in the house that are very public so that parents can see what is being accessed at any time.
- Set up filtering software for your home (this is different than filtering software on a computer). The filtering software is installed directly on the router so that all devices accessing the network in the home are filtered, not just the home computer. A great free option to consider is the Family Shield product from OpenDNS. We use the same product here at school in the enterprise version. Note that an enterprising student will find a way around just about any filtering software that you put in place. Ultimately, teaching students responsible behavior and being vigilant as a parent is your best defence.
- Establish the expectations for use when at a friend’s house or at the mall. You might require them to leave the iPad in your care.
- Check your student’s browsing history on a regular basis. Make it a rule that they cannot delete their browsing history. The Safari browser now has an option to prevent access to adult content, and by the time you read this, we will either have already or will soon be enabling this feature on the student iPads. This feature also blocks students from installing other browsers on the device and hiding their history.
It is possible that with the update to OS7, and more multitasking abilities on the iPad, there may be better electronic monitoring software in the future. We will let you know if we find that this becomes an option. For now, I hope that some of these suggestions above will help, and I appreciate teaming with parents to do all we can to protect our students.
We are currently planning an informational night for parents on 7 November where we will talk more about the iPads, give more suggestions and ideas, and facilitate discussion about parenting in this technologically infused world. More information about that night will come in future Dalat News editions.
As always, if you have questions for our tech team or for me, please don’t hesitate to drop by and ask.
Mr. Brian Brewster
High School Principal