Oak Flats Public School

An innovative Learning Community

Boundaries for Device Usage


The internet can help children develop socially and academically. However, too much time online, playing games, socialising and so on, can have a negative effect. For children, a balance of online and offline activities is important.

Many older children spend time on the internet socialising, studying and for entertainment. There is no guideline for the right amount of time for children to spend online, however if their online behaviour appears to impact negatively on their behaviour or wellbeing, or that of the family, it may be time to discuss expectations, and establish online time limits.

Tips

  • Look for indicators that your child may be spending too much time online, such as a decline in interest in other activities, talking constantly about an online game or activity, a decline in grades or irritability when they are away from an online game. You may also suspect they are getting up after bed time to play a game.
  • Children may seem quite tired during the day or skip meals to avoid leaving the computer.
  • You may like to check with the school to identify whether they are experiencing issues with timeliness or quality of work and tiredness.
  • Consider establishing rules about when children can play games or use the internet and how long they can play each day. You might consider agreeing with your child a set balance of online activities and offline activities such as outside play, homework and housework. A two week trial of new rules might be useful to establish whether they seem to provide a good balance for your child and your family.
  • Establishing rules with children when they are young can help with the management of their online activities as they get older.
  • Try to locate the computer/iPad in a shared or visible place in the home so you are aware of how much time your child spends online.
  • If you have concerns about your child's online behaviour explore your concerns with them.

Set Boundaries

  • Students don't need to use the iPad all the time at home. Ensure that your child balances their time using technology with other things in their life.
  • Children need their sleep, so we strongly suggest that the iPad is NOT TAKEN TO BED.
  • We recommend that you specify:
    • where in the house the iPad can be used
    • where it is to be stored / charged when not in use (Not in the child's bedroom)

Monitor

  • Talk about Internet activities openly and freely.
  • Have your child use the iPad in a shared family area where you can monitor how long your child is online as well as the websites your child is visiting.
  • Check the history in Safari or any web browser they may have used.
  • If you are experiencing problems with your child/children being off-task while completing homework/ study time there is the option of setting up ‘Guided Access'. Guided Access helps the iPad user to stay focused on a task while using your iPad.
  • Guided Access limits your device to a single app and lets you control which app features are available.
  • Mobile phones and other digital devices have access to the Internet, so these devices need to be monitored also.

Protect

  • Explain to your child that not all information on the Internet is good, true or helpful, and that some areas are not intended for children to see.
  • Help your child identify unsuitable material by naming some things to look out for, such as sites that contain scary or rude pictures, swearing or angry words.
  • Empower your child to use the Internet safely by showing your child safe sites and explaining why they are safe. It's also important to educate your child on why it's not safe to give out any personal details online.
  • Parental Controls or Restrictions- are available on the iPad, if needed. These restrictions will only work on downloaded iTunes music, games and apps. Restrictions will not restrict or block inappropriate websites when using Safari or any other web browser app.
  • Parental Controls are available on the iPad. However, they can block iPad features that may be needed at school.