A Second Year of Laptops…

We met with current sixth grade parents the other evening to discuss next year’s seventh grade laptop program. The program is also extending into the eight grade next year, but those parents are already experienced.

A major part of our program is family outreach on home use of computers– how to set limits, how to encourge productive use, how to recognize problems and respond. Travel and storage are also issues, as well as proper ergonomics.

Here’s a copy of what we presented:

7th Grade Laptop Planning for Parents Presentation

7th Grade Laptop Planning for Parents Handout

GURL Watcher The number one problem we heard from parents this year was “too much use at home,” especially iChat. Basically, the best resolution is for kids to learn to set their own limits that we agree are beneficial (two boys this year literally requested to have iChat removed from their machines earlier this year). The next step would be parent-enforced screen time limits. If that doesn’t work, we can use the GURL Watcher software to set time limits on the daily use of any program on the iBook (one hour daily limit for iChat, for example). The final step is to request that the iBooks don’t go home at all– we provide padlocks and the iBooks are locked in lockers at night and on weekends.

The final option didn’t occur this year, but maybe it should have for two or three families, at least for a week or two if not the entire year. It’s not an option we recommend often, but we think it needs to be there so that parents know that they have the final say about the use of the iBooks at home.

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