Devices are everywhere today. They have changed how we communicate, order food and taxi service, listen to music, take videos and photos, and the list goes on and on. In our yearly survey using the BrightBytes Clarity platform, 82% of our students have access to a smartphone, with that number jumps to 91% when you just look at high school students. My daughter Bailey is one of those students; this year she is a Sophomore at Omaha Central High School.
As a parent, I didn't grow up with this type of access to information. I grew up in a small town in Missouri. My mom would typically tell me to get out of the house and come home when the street lights came on. I would go out and play with my friends with little or no communication with my mom. I know for myself, this doesn't necessarily mimic what my kids have grown up with. Each of my kids got access to a cell phone at the age of 13, and no snapchat until they turn 18. This is our way of making a gradual release of opportunity with these devices. This doesn't come without some surprises.
At a volleyball tournament this year, I happened to see a pop up on Bailey's iPhone that read:
Your average screen time is up 22% and gave an average of over 6 hours per day. That is a quarter of the day even including hours of sleep! This also helped me to realize that I was likely modeling this behavior as well. So this tip may not be just for the kids out there.
How can you set this up?
Apple’s new Screen Time feature in iOS 12 makes it easy for parents to limit kids activity on their device and make their time on those devices more intentional.
Here is how to start:
1. Open Settings on your child’s iPhone or iPad
2. Tap Screen Time
3. The first time you open Screen Time, you’ll see a splash screen and choose the option to Set up as a Parent
4. Follow the prompts to customize Downtime, App Limits, Content & Privacy, and creating your Parent Passcode
I went back a couple of times to adjust the settings I originally set.
Important: If you’d like to make any adjustments, you can always return to Settings → Screen Time
What were the settings I started with?
Let's hear from Bailey
Is this a failsafe?
Absolutely not. I can tell you over the years, I’ve seen kids – including my own – do things that technology experts and consultants could not have done any better. I see this happen a lot in schools. Nothing is fail safe - but the important thing is awareness, for you and for them. Having an awareness allows you to empower your kids to make choices as they grow. These tools can help you have conversation and then begin to set adjustments to these powerful devices. Common Sense Media also provides great resources on how to limit screen time.
Also again, let me reiterate: we as parents might be modeling this behavior. Our kids do much of what our actions teach them to do. Turn on the screen time feature on your device to track your screen time, too!
These posts are personal. They are not reflective of the Omaha Public Schools District.