Over the last three weeks, I have read various articles on how parents are being caught unaware when their kids are using their smartphones, tablets or console gaming systems and then are horrified when they get their credit card statements. What parents realize is that they were charged gobs of money while their kids were using their devices unbeknownst to them. (I will admit that this blog post might turn into a bit of a rant…)
Parents: wake up and take responsibility, please. Ask yourself, who allowed the child to have the smartphone, tablet or console gaming system. If the answer is you or a family member then you need to understand the benefits and the risks of the technology you have allowed to enter your household.
Yes, technology is constantly changing and it is a pain in the butt to keep up but parents more than ever have to be proactive. Why do we think that smartphone, tablet or console gaming companies are looking out for our best interests or our kids. They are not and NEVER will be. Their basic goal is to make a profit. Sure, regulations will change after a while to make things more difficult for these companies but like everything in life you need to be aware of what your household is signing up for and follow these steps….
1. Research the smartphone, tablet or console gaming system you are about to purchase.
This means read forums, ask other parents or follow technologically savvy people in the know. Learn about what you need to be aware of. Would you buy a car without researching it? Probably not, so why is technology different?
2. Read the terms and services agreement.
Seriously…yes! Sure it is full of legal jargon that will make your eyes glaze over but you might find something in the privacy section which makes you uncomfortable or ask questions. I can’t tell you how many times I have clicked “Yes” on a Terms and Conditions (T&C’s) online statement. I assume, like everyone else that these companies T&C’s are ok. They most likely are but when you first enter into an agreement with a company, at least try to understand what you have committed to.
3. Explore the device or console gaming system you have purchased when your kids aren’t around.
Yes, your kids have mastered it faster than you can say “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, (did I spell that right?) but are you comfortable with it. We recently got an Xbox and I’m exploring each section to familiarize myself with it so that when my son screws it up (b/c he will), I can attempt to fix it.
4. Don’t fall into the typical parental roles with technology.
Recently, my hubby and I took a day off and do household chores. He did the gardening and I did the laundry. There is a tendency within technology to let men “Rule the Roost” within the household. Don’t do it. Both parents need to be actively involved and understand the ramifications of technology. Yes, I’m not technological inclined and I screw up with technology a ton but I don’t let it deter me. At the end of the day, I’m an educator to my kids, if they are interacting with technology, then I need to know it.
5. Learn the lingo.
Do you know your 3DS from your LOL? One of the most effective ways to stay on par with technology is to understand the acronyms. They are all over technology. While it doesn’t make you an expert, it does help you keep current.
So the next time you get a large bill on your credit card statement, from a piece of technology you allowed your son or daughter to use, take a breath and say “Yes, I was the person who allowed this piece of technology to enter into my household. I guess I just learned a huge lesson!” And of course, speak to your kids about it.
Do you agree with my point of view? If you do, like my Facebook page so you can keep up with technology.