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Balancing Screen Time & Family Time

It is important to emphasize that having a student device is not just about letting kids use technology, it is about learning and creating! There will be times when learning takes place both with and without technology. Our goal is to achieve a balanced understanding of the role technology plays, not only at school, but at home as well.

While many students in our community have regular access to a digital device, that may not be the case for every student and in every home. We acknowledge that there may also be wide range of standards or values that families have toward the use of digital technology. Some homes may have very strict guidelines for technology use, while others have a more relaxed set of guidelines. Which ever side of that continuum you find yourself, a student learning device at home has the potential to modify the home landscape.

As a school, we understand that a student with a learning device at home may be a culture shift. For some, it may even cause some homes to rethink daily routines or processes. Below are some thoughts about how parents can live at home with a student device:

Balance and Time Management
While your students will be engaged in a variety of learning activities at school  that involve technology, at home, you as parents are the final authority on how much time your student spends in front of the screen. As a family, we encourage you to set up boundaries for how much time you and your students will spend on devices. We encourage you to identify times in your schedules where devices are put away and the family is engaged in face to face time. This can especially be important on the weekends. Disconnected time is just as important is connected time in a "one device per child" school scenario.

Sleep is an important part of growth and development for children and teens; we encourage you to find a common family space (kitchen, family room, etc) where students can charge their device over night. Too often, teens are using their device late into the morning hours, or are awakened by notifications or alerts, robbing them of important rest and growth. Find a place away from the bedroom as the "home base" for all technology related devices.

Safety
Many parents follow the advice of experts by putting the family computer in a common space. This is also a good recommendation for school related technology as well. If you are not able to have students work in a common area, it's important to not let students keep their devices in their room overnight. Make the kitchen counter the official "charging spot" for student devices, so students aren't tempted to use their device after hours.

While at school, student internet connections will be filtered through our network firewall, but only as long as they are connected to our wireless network. Students who use a device with a mobile connection (3G/LTE/4G), are accessing the Internet outside of our filtering policies. While our educational goals and instructions teach students how to navigate the Internet in safe and productive way, the content filtering provides a level comfort when it comes to students accessing the "worst of the worst" on the web.

Appropriate Use At Home
Some families find it important to put into writing their values, standards, and expectations with regards to technology use at home. Just as students complete annual Digital Citizenship Contract here at school, parents are finding it helpful to have home agreements as well. Below are some links to several examples provided by CommonSense Media. 

Family Media Agreements--
https://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/pdfs/fma_all.pdf

Customizable Device Agreement--
http://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/pdfs/phase3_customizabledevicecontract_design1_interactive.pdf

15800 Manchester Rd., Ellisville, MO 63011 • Office: 636.779.2325

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