Parenting in a Digital Age

The iPad can be an incredible learning tool. Its light weight, touch screen, long battery life, and ever-growing list of interactive apps and digital books make it extremely functional and purposeful as a personal learning device. In the Bend-La Pine Schools, we believe it is currently the best technology tool for engaging students in their learning, for providing access anytime/anywhere to student work, and for connecting them to the resources they need for research, project creation, and class presentations. It is also an ideal tool for communicating with teachers and their peers.

While all of these benefits are readily apparent to us as educators, we recognize the iPad may also present challenges. The 24/7 access to outside resources can be viewed positively or negatively. What ground rules can you establish at home to ensure the appropriate use of the iPad?

Establishing ground rules for technology use at home

Families will differ in the daily behavioral expectations for their children. Technology use should be in line with your own family’s already established ground rules. Click on the strategies below for more information and associated resources to help you establish your own systems.

[DDET Designate specific areas in the home for use of technology tools.]

You may determine that homework and research must be done outside the bedroom, in a location visible to you. In this manner, an adult can monitor technology usage at any moment. [/DDET]

[DDET Keep the iPad charger plugged into the wall in a main room.]

We require that students bring the iPad to school fully charged each day. By leaving the charger plugged in a common area of the house, this ensures the device is not only fully charged, but is left in plain sight at the end of the evening. [/DDET]

[DDET Set time limits for iPad use.]

You may decide that once homework is complete, there is a set amount of time to use the iPad for other purposes. You may establish a time in the day, say 9pm or 10pm, after which the iPad must be put away. You may even set a timer on the iPad or your own iDevice that alerts you and your child when time is up. [/DDET]

[DDET Shut off wifi.]

You can shut off wifi on the iPad itself, or even shut off wifi at the house altogether during certain hours of the day. This allows your child to continue to use the iPad for reading, writing or other activity that does not require internet access. [/DDET]

[DDET Set controls on the iPad.]

You can set Guided Access control on the iPad,  which you can lock down your child’s iPad into single app, using a passcode. This is designed to allow you the Parent the ability to temporarily restrict access, such as in the evenings, then open things back up during the day. More complete information regarding setting controls on the iPad using Guided Access follows in Section 2. [/DDET]

[DDET Complete a Family Media Agreement together with your children.] Consider using this Family Media Agreement Form as a template for your own agreement.   Borrowed from Common Sense Media, it models the use of clear language and expectations between parents and children for appropriate use of technology and proper online behavior. To help formulate your own family agreement, consider these guiding questions from Edutopia. [/DDET]

Techniques for checking on-task behavior

Our teachers will use these techniques in the classroom, but they are also relevant for the home.  Click each topic to find out more:

[DDET Double click the home button to check the multi-task bar for open applications.]

Double-clicking the home button will reveal the most recent applications your child has been working in from left to right.


[DDET Flip the screen.] If you want to see what your child is doing, ask them to flip the screen to you. It’s a nice, simple way to check what they are working on. The screen will automatically orient correctly, unless they have chosen to lock orientation. Either way, you can see the screen. Tip: you can also tell when they click the home button in a panic to get out of what they are doing.


Opportunities for learning in Bend-La Pine Schools:

There will continue to be opportunities for learning more about the challenges and possibilities of technology for students and parents.

  • For students: Digital citizenship will be part of the curriculum all students receive within our schools.
  • For parents: “Tech Nights” will be scheduled throughout the year on topics such as cyber safety, your digital footprint, iPad apps for learning and more.

For further reading…