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Tech Dad: Safe Summer Tech Tips

Tips to keep kiddos safe on connected devices.

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Tech Dad: Safe Summer Tech Tips

As a parent of three kids I know that the summer struggle is real. Keeping the kids occupied day after day isn’t always easy. I’m a tech guy, so as you can imagine, I’m not anti-gadget when it comes to kids. I think they”re a great way to stimulate the mind. With that said, there are many things I”ve learned about safe and responsible integration of gadgets in a child’s life. These are my top tips for tech use during summer months.

Set Limits

This is easier said than done but I’m a big fan of setting clear limits for kids on tablets, smartphones, and video games. Buy an egg timer for a buck at the dollar store or use your Amazon Alexa. Make sure they know that there is a limit and when that timer goes off, it’s their responsibility to turn off the device and plug it into the charger. I let my kids decide when they want to use their tech time. It gives them some control and helps them learn to make choices. They want screen time and that’s ok, but it’s our job as parents to teach them how to manage it.

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Be Careful of the YouTube Hole

YouTube Kids is a great creation. It’s an app that accesses YouTube within a walled garden of kid-friendly content. It also has parental features for setting timers and content restrictions. Great, right? Be careful! Just because its content is approved as kid-friendly doesn’t mean it’s a video you want your kids watching. In the same way that we don’t give our kids unmonitored access to Nickelodeon, we shouldn’t do that with YouTube Kids. Let the kids use YouTube when you’re in the room. You”ll learn a lot just by listening to what they”re watching.

The Video Game is on the Internet?

Oh yeah! Most consoles, such as Xbox, PlayStation, and PC, are connected to the web. This is how they download updates and games, but it’s also how many gamers communicate inside of games. If you”ve never put on a headset inside of a popular video game, let me just say, it would often make a trucker blush. Make sure your young kids don’t have access to in-game chat and for the older crowd, monitor it. Don’t overreact, because your kids may not even know these features exist, but do ask questions and make sure you know what they”re accessing.

School is right around the corner so make sure the end of summer is fun for your kids. Use these tips to keep those kiddos safe on connected devices.

Kirk Yuhnke is a father of three kids and an admitted tech geek. You can find him weekday mornings anchoring Good Day Colorado on Fox 31 News.

This article appeared in the July 2017 issue of Colorado Parent.

Kirk Yuhnke

Kirk Yuhnke is a father of three, self-admitted technology geek, and morning news anchor on Fox31 Good Day Colorado.

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