Welcome to ITWC’s September 2018 community slideshow! Every month we ask leaders in the Canadian technology industry about a general life topic as a fun way to know the community a little better. Now that the first month of school is almost complete for students across Canada that got us wondering about what new devices were purchased in the back to school blitz, so we asked leaders, ‘Did you buy a new device for your child? If so, how do you manage their access to technology?’
Read on for answers from IBM Canada, Cogeco Peer 1 and more. We’d love to hear your thoughts, use the hashtag #CommunityQuestion and join the conversation.
Regan P. Watts, Innovation, Citizenship and Government Affairs Leader, IBM Canada
To help our family get ready for the new school year, we introduced two tablets into our routine, to get our children familiar with the digital world. With two young children (ages 4 and 7), our family is extra careful when managing screen time, because as much as there are many benefits in becoming familiar with technology, there are challenges that we need to learn to manage as a family.
My wife and I spent time talking about what we hoped to achieve through the introduction of tablets and apps to our children as we prepare them to be ‘school ready’ and build on their cognitive and applied learning skills. Being aligned as partners helps us enforce the rules of the road when it comes to using new devices. We take advantage of many of the built-in and add-on features for the tablet to manage screen time and have also set ground rules by restricting activities to only a few apps focused around learning and overall development. We also limit the tablet use to breakfast time only, and our children must finish their meal if they want to use the device the next day. In this way, we are hoping to teach our children the values of accountability and reward when it comes to using technology.
Nidhi Malhotra, Sr. Director of Business Development, Canada, Tata Consultancy Services
“My ten-year-old daughter was delighted to get an upgraded smartphone this year. But her usage of the device is not without a fair bit of oversight. I regularly monitor her online activities, regulate her screen time and even elected to put some parental controls in place to help filter the information she can access. I spend time with her while she is playing video games and surfing the internet to get a sense of the type of content she finds engaging and we routinely have conversations about social media. For our family, maintaining an open and constructive dialogue is paramount. Even though I have been working in tech for over twenty-three years, I can still learn a thing or two from my little digital native.”
Sem Ponnambalam, President of Xahive Inc.
As children return to school with the latest technology as parents and caregivers we have the responsibility to be proactive and ensure that our children remain cyber safe.
It is important that as parents we set up parental controls even on browsers, use multi-factor authentication options for passwords and ensure that anti-virus software is up to date.
Educating your children on being cyber safe is not only going to ensure they remain safe as children but it will ensure that the next generation will become cyber safe adults. (except)
Answer courtesy ITAC’s Mariana Kutin Morais
J.D. Hupp, Vice President and General Manager, CDW Canada
Both of my children are not able to complete their school work without the use of technology. The pace they learn at is so different than when I was growing up. If they need to know something, there is an app, YouTube demo or TED Talk. The downside is they need to learn, outside of technology, how to make friends, build strong relationships and the importance of eye contact, a firm handshake, and manners. While we have flexible access to their devices, we do monitor them. We also work with our children to spot bad sites and openly share them.
Jaime Leverton, VP and General Manager, Canada & APAC with Cogeco Peer 1
This year, our back to school shopping list was paper and pencils – no new devices for my girls (ages 7 and 10)! To manage their access to technology, our family needed to find a balance between healthy amounts of time in front of a screen, while simultaneously encouraging an interest in self-directed learning, and STEM fields.
With so many amazing educational programs (such as Kahn Academy or MIT’s “Scratch”) – and many less than amazing digital distractions – available to children online, this is no easy task. As a parent, I’ve taken on this challenge by nurturing a positive relationship with screen time. We allow our daughters limited screen time on weeknights for educational games only, and no social media usage at all. On weekends away and holidays, the rule is “Family Screens Only”. That means family movie nights and TV time only when the whole family is together. This restricted access rule applies to parents, too… I have a feeling it’s much more difficult for us than it is for the girls! I strongly believe that a healthy relationship with technology starts at home, so it’s up to us to be role models for our children.