Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Electronics: Teaching Kids Responsibility

I've seen it happen too many times among friends, nieces, nephews, neighbors, etc.:
iPods and iPhones that are cracked, missing for months, dropped on the sidewalk, left at the gym, even stolen! The truth is that sometimes kids just have to learn the hard way.  It will turn your stomach as a parent.  You may want to scream expletives!  You ground the kid for weeks, swear that you will never purchase another phone for them again, then make them pay you back with a year's worth of allowance.  It's a life lesson, and hopefully the child will learn from his or her mistake.

We gave Mya an iPod touch for her 5th birthday.  She was a fluent reader at that age, so we knew she could use it for more than just games.  We've had many "issues" arise with this slender piece of technology that have taught us as parents just as many lessons as the kids! While accidents happen, we have found some rules in our family that have helped us avoid some of these common misadventures (knock on wood!!)! Electronics are expensive and they need to be treated with special care.

1.  ALWAYS keep the case on.  Most phones or iPods break because they don't have a case to protect them.  We purchased this very inexpensive case from Amazon almost a year ago, and it has been fabulous.

2.  NEVER give out our apple ID password to ANYONE!!!! While we have never had anyone else use our apple ID password, Mya has used it to purchase an app without asking me.  I discovered it the next day.  Luckily it was only $4.99, but she lost the iPod for a week for that mistake and cried a river.  I trust her with our password so that she can get free apps and some paid apps (both with our permission), so it was only a matter of time before I knew she would take advantage of that password! Lesson learned.

3.  Keep the iPod charged at all times.  This is very important for the "Find my iPhone" feature that apple products have.  If you lose your phone in the couch, you can get on another device and use the Find my iPhone app to beep the phone and even locate it on a map.  We use this app multiple times a week (even for my phone, which I misplace daily!).  It will only work on the iPod if it is charged and connected to wifi, so it's very important that the device is charged!!!

4.  Do not let anyone else use the iPod without asking us first.

5.  Monitor app downloads.  Mya is not allowed to download ANY app, free or paid, without asking us first.  Also, when you purchase an iPod for a child at the Apple Store (vs. Target, Best Buy, etc), they program the iPod for you so that apps with a 12+ rating or above cannot be downloaded.  This includes Netflix and YouTube.  You can still view YouTube through Safari, but kids usually don't know that. ;)

If we notice that she has too many apps, we make her delete a few before downloading new ones.  It helps teach her about download space.

6.  Do not take the iPod into the bathroom.  This one is obvious….water is one of the worst things for any electronic device!!! Just keep it away from sinks, toilets, and bathtubs!!!!

7.  APPS ALLOWANCE.  We allow Mya to have $5.00 per month to use towards apps and music.  It teaches her budgeting responsibility. She can carry the amount over to the next month if she doesn't use it.  Here is our tracking sheet.

8.  Never change the home screen picture.  The home screen picture on Mya's iPod is a photo of her with our phone number.  That way, if she happens to leave it at a restaurant, for example, someone can turn it on and that is the first thing they will see.

Tomorrow I will be posting some of our favorite apps and benefits of giving a preschooler an iPod!

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