In the recent presentations on SBS campus, Technology in the Home: Parental Controls and Monitoring, given by Donnie and Jaclyn Boutwell, parents learned more about how to filter and monitor their students’ technology use in the home with practical tips and strategies.
Just as we equip students to think critically, live biblically and lead courageously, SBS strives to equip parents to come alongside their children and create constructs that will do the same. We sat down with Jacyln Boutwell, co-owner of Media Systems, to hear more about how to monitor technology for today’s generation of students.
Why do you think it is important for parents to put guidelines in place for technology use?
In every area of life, we teach kids proper etiquette. Just because they’re 16 doesn’t mean we hand them keys to the car and say, “good luck!” Instead, we enroll them in driver’s ed; we sit in the passenger seat and teach them how to be safe on the road. With technology, it’s so easy to just hand them a phone or laptop without any instructions. A lot of parents may be overwhelmed at the thought of trying to keep up with the ever-evolving world of technology, but handing over a phone that literally gives them access to the entire world should come with both training and education. Be honest with your kids, and keep talking to them about proper online etiquette.
What are some things that parents can do on their own to manage the technology their kids are using?
There are three basic layers to protecting your kids online:
Content Filtering - This is almost like applying a movie rating to the internet. You can set this up through your home wifi network or call your network specialist to have them show you how to set it up.
- Screen Time Limits - Apple and Android both offer options to manage your child’s time on their devices, and you can block specific apps or websites. By setting your child up on your account, you can manage his or her time from your own phone.
- Monitoring - We like to use a company called Bark.us. They will send you alerts if anything dangerous comes up like drug use, bullying and self harm. This tool gives parents a bird’s eye view of what’s happening online with their kids. Click this link to get a free 3 month trial or use the code MDCT59J.
How does safe technology use relate to God’s calling for parents?
We are called to love our children and to discipline them. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he grows older he will not abandon it.” We love our children; we want to give them freedom to use technology, but also guidelines so they can do so safely.
Jaclyn Boutwell closes by saying, “We are in this with you. We are parents with three daughters, one in each level -- lower, middle and upper school. Once our kids started using phones and iPads, we were surprised at how little information is out there for parents. We put these things together in hopes that we would sift through the noise and just give you some helpful tools to do what works best for your family. We are offering a free 1-hour consultation with any SBS family. Please reach out anytime at (713) 426-0900 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can be available in person or by Zoom.”