Don’t let technology rule your household

In the good old days, all parents had to worry about was TV. In the 21st century, you’ve got to worry about texting, cell phones, Skype, the Internet, and other kinds of technology that kids are using. Don’t freak out. Here’s some basic advice for managing technology and your children:

• Create a contract. Work with your children on an agreement spelling out some good rules for Internet use (including all other forms of communication, like cell phones). “No bullying on Facebook” might be a good place to start. Let kids know you’ll be monitoring them.

• Establish a curfew. Make a rule about shutting down computers and other electronics for the night at 8:30 or 9:15 so they don’t keep your kids up late.

• Discourage texting in the passenger seat. You can have some good conversations with your children while you’re driving, as long as they’re not holding another chat with their friends via cell phone.

• Have a tech-free day. Make Friday night a family night where no technology is allowed. This will remind your kids that they can relax and have fun without a computer.

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