Parents, Keep Being the Parent

I know I'm not a parent, but I already think it's the hardest job in the whole world. You all deserve way more credit than you're getting. Thank you for the time and energy and tears you put into raising humans. I love the time I get two spend with them in the classroom (just SIX more days!), and they give me hope for the future of humanity. And yet, I know kids can be stinkers sometimes, and it's hard sometimes to keep fighting when they ruthlessly beg you or insist that life isn't fair. No matter, what they say, the boundaries you're giving them are important. Keep on keeping on. 

Keep looking at what your student is doing online.

Although they'll likely say that it's incredibly unfair, it's good to be in your student's business. The amount you're in their business will likely vary from the age of 12 to 18, but it's good to know what your students are doing. You're allowed to (and should do) random checks of their technology when they're in middle school. Look at their text messages and their web history and their emails. Have conversations about it and help your student use his or her time online wisely

Keep supporting your student's passions. 

Please recognize that not all activities that your student does online are created equally. Try to understand what your student is spending most of his or her time doing online. What are they passionate about? Can that be given a real-life equivalent? If your student is using technology to spend time with friends, could you instead commit to having more of his or her friends into your home? If they're watching a lot of sports, could you put it on the TV and watch it as a family or go outside and try the moves you've seen? What is it about the YouTuber they love that makes them want to spend hours watching them? Keep asking your students about how they're using technology, and look for ways to stoke and guide their passions towards people and things of consequence. 

Keep setting boundaries.

It's okay to turn the wifi off at 9PM. Please don't let your kid have their devices in their rooms at night (alarm clocks are pretty cheap these days). It's okay to say no to apps like Snapchat even if every other parent is saying yes. The boundaries you give your kids around technology, especially in middle school, are important in teaching them healthy habits. 

Parents, thank you for the hard work you're putting in to raise positive digital citizens. Continue to share with each other strategies that you have for monitoring your students' tech usage, ways that you support their passions, and effective boundaries that you've set. Please also continue to let me know how teachers can support you as you monitor technology use at home.