As the parent of a child with autism, technology can provide some amazing benefits. I’ve already discussed how an iPad and communication software have given my daughter a voice to express herself, but other learning tools have helped with motor skills, letter formation, reading, logic skills, math, memorization – I could go on and on!
The key to remember, though, is that while technology is a great help for kids with disabilities, it can also be a danger. It’s not only important to monitor what you kids are exposed to, it’s important to set boundaries and rules. After putting it off, I finally set up some limitations.
My family’s tech boundaries:
- No technology during meals. (Like when Merida’s mom says, “No weapons on the table!” – only it’s “No phones!”)
- No technology before homework and chores are done.
- We’ve stopped giving them gadgets in the car unless it’s a long, long trip or they are acting up.
- No published pictures of anyone who is not fully dressed.
- No tech that day – or several days – for misbehavior.
- When I feel they are overdoing it, tech goes into a bag and “disappears” for a while. I just came off of 6 weeks without the DS3 or iPad.
- I set locks on purchases, password protect devices, and make sure they can only access “PG” or “G” activities.
- A new one: Limits for ME. What we model is SO important to our kids, and my obsessive “downtime” gaming in front of them had set a bad example. So I limit myself to a few rounds of my 3 favorite games after homework and chores, and save more gaming for once they are in bed.
Help is Here
Tech is very effective motivation device to curb misbehavior but I still need to work on limits. I’m still floundering with guidelines, but help is on the way. The National PTA has partnered with LifeLock to help families discuss and share positive, safe choices and decisions for using digital tools. The #ShareAwesome website and campaign celebrates families and kids – like ours – who use digital tech for good at home and around the world.
The Scholarship Contest
To encourage that, the #ShareAwesome contest invites students who are social media users to share a safe & smart decision, accomplishment or positive action for the good of others, with the #ShareAwesome hashtag on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. The details:
Snap a photo of an awesome moment in your day and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the #ShareAwesome hashtag!
Students who enter the #ShareAwesome contest between September 15 – November 30, 2014 will have a chance to win fantastic prizes, including tablets and a $2,500 scholarship!
Do you set boundaries for kids and yourself on technology?
Share your tips!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.