Technology has changed and often improved the way we work, live, shop and play, but it can feel overwhelming at times. I think I’m at the age where new technology feels like too much and I hate change and I don’t want to learn something new. This is why I’m still not really using TikTok I guess.
I have been blogging for over 14 years, freelance writing for almost as long, and on social media for the same amount of time. It’s become my normal to take photos for sharing later (I rarely share ‘in the moment’) or check the news on a social media website before traditional news outlets online. I actively use my phone to stay connected with family and friends, for my job, and as a camera.
Recently, my youngest got a new phone that has data and the ability to text anyone. We’ve been texting with my eldest for some time now too. But after years of communicating this way, it finally happened: We, the parents, were invited into a family group chat.
It’s time to buy a smartphone for my youngest (who is only a few months away from being 14 years old). While we know there are considerations and conversations needed around the use of phones, safety, apps, privacy and other responsibilities when owning a phone, we also know the time is right.
If you have children who have access to a phone and the ability to text, you may be venturing into a completely new area of communication with them. Have you noticed emoji replies? Or abbreviated statements? GIF-only responses or memes that you have to Google to understand? You aren’t alone.
So what should parents make of this?
Our youngest is about to turn 14, and that means it’s time for the last member of our family to get her own cell phone.
We decided back when our oldest was heading off to high school that age 14, Grade 9, is cell phone time for our family. We’ve been happy with that decision – it seemed like the right time in terms of maturity, and also it became clear that having a phone to use in class at high school was beneficial and even expected.
Meet Sasha. At age 8, she's a real social butterfly, both online and off, and is very concerned with how the world sees her: she spends a lot of time making sure she looks good in photos online but doesn't always think twice about who might see them. Violet is Sasha's older sister and her polar opposite: she's a hardcore gamer, and just as tough as her Level 65 Barbarian. Though she despairs of her sister sometimes, she's also fiercely protective of her and will unleash her considerable wrath on anyone she thinks is picking on Sasha.
Cyber Choices is an interactive game designed to help students in grades 3 to 5 develop the skills and habits they need to make safe and responsible choices online. Cyber Choices lets students explore four different stories that cover key issues such as making good choices about their own and others’ personal information, dealing with cyberbullying (as both a target and a witness) and managing online conflict.
We had an internet outage in our neighbourhood last week. We had no internet access for three whole days.
Our older teens, aged 17 and 15, have smartphones. They aren’t big users of social media, but they do get messages from friends fairly often on Instagram, Hangouts and Discord.