1. Save Facebook, Google+, and other big-time social networking experiences for high school.
2. Know your child’s passwords.
3. Keep online computer activities out of the bedroom. Also, plan on no-screen wind-down time during the last half hour before bed. (Yes, even those bedtime friendly Kindles – why not use bedtime-friendly books?)
4. Set up an overnight charging area for cell phones and other gadgets outside of the bedroom, preferably on another floor or part of your home.
5. Consider writing up digital device contracts and using these agreements with your child. Feel free to take away privileges, or even the device, if your expectations are not met.
6. The iPad and an iPod Touch are not toys in the traditional sense. These gadgets should be supervised closely.
7. Accept only compelling reasons for digital device use during homework time. E-mail and social media should not be open without an important reason (such as working on a collaborative project for a specific time).
8. Teach yourself how to use your child’s digital devices (or ask your child to teach you). Only adults should download apps. Check out my recent post on Fraudulent Apps that arrive via text.
9. Be sure you are able to administer all computers. In grades 5-8 (and even longer) children should not be the administrators of any computer.
10. For school assignments and research projects, help your children learn how to begin searching with online library databases — rather than merely searching on Google. They will retrieve information of much higher quality and learn lots more in the process of searching. You can use these, too. Read my August 2010 post, Staying Ahead With Online Databases.