By Michael Harris-Arzon, Dadologist
Creating technology and online guidelines for your kids
It’s not often I see a trending story on the news that inspires me to take action. In today’s fast passed world of over sharing and daily tech advancements, I see little point in speaking out. The reason for this thought is that I want to ensure I am bringing forth a message that has meaning and can truly benefit our readers and followers.
This morning on #GMA there was a story about a new trend sweeping the country called Wait Until 8thand the negative power that smartphones have on our children. This is where I feel in a bit of a catch 22. As a father and Branding expert, one the one side I know how bad social media and what searching for the wrong keyword can reveal. But, as a brand expert I feel that in this super charged world of building a strong online presence, I feel that the younger kids start building a following, the larger their sphere of influence will be when they hit the job market as young adults.
As a father, one thing I have learned is that each child needs to be treated differently. Neither of our daughters are ready for starting an online presence, yet our son, whom is in the middle, will be starting his this year (with my managing his identity and brand presence). The reason for treating him differently is that he has show consistent interest in modeling and acting. So, we have started working on his portfolio and he begins his first taping sessions for a new online cooking show to debut on YouTube next spring.
How Danny and I decided to handle the problem was like this. We knew that getting the kids their first iPads when they were super young (our youngest was only 18 months old), the smarter and more advanced they would be when it came to their education. Granted we limited, and still do, the types of apps they use. We still don’t allow internet access unless it’s for a school project and even then they have to literally sit right there with one of us, and our eldest daughter is almost 13.
We have always said that we wouldn’t even consider letting any of our three kids have a phone until they turn 16, but now we are faced with the strong likelihood that Onyx and Anthony will both be attending school almost an hour away from our home. Just this morning I was talking with my husband, Danny, about getting Onyx a super basic phone for emergencies when they start school next year. Then lo and behold we see this story on #GMA about Wait Until 8th. It seemed to make the decision for us. It also makes m feel good to know that other parents seem as concerned as we are about their kids use of technology and the exposure risk that the internet and social media brings to the table. Like their tag line says, Let kids be kids a little longer.
So I encourage all of our readers across the globe to join this strategic movement and sign a pledge for each of your kids today.