Technology: Guidance for Families

13/14s Guidance

We recommend

  • Engaging your child in conversation about online activities on a regular basis.
  • Setting family expectations for use and time spent on the internet, mobile applications, gaming, etc.
  • Modeling appropriate use of technology according to the rules in your home, for example no devices at the dinner table.
  • Keeping laptops, Internet devices and devices with webcams in public, highly visible spaces within your home and not in your child's own room. 
  • Having conversations with other families about the use of technology when children spend time in one another's homes  It is helpful to disucss media/technology expectations with families that host your and negotiate differences in advance. 
  • Periodically review your child’s browser history. 
  • 13/14s should check their Bank Street email on a daily basis. 
  • Being aware of any personal email accounts your child maintains.
  • Encouraging creation of secure passwords and the importance of changing them on an occasional basis. 13/14s should not use the same password for all their accounts.
  • Facebook and other social media sites may be appropriate for your child. Use of these sites should only occur with your full knowledge and you should friend or follow your child on any social media site you permit them to join.
  • 13/14s may be an appropriate time for your child to have his/her own iTunes account. Consider the use of gift cards (over credit cards) to limit purchases.
  • Comment moderation should be enabled for your child's blog or Tumblr. (Allows comments to be approved before they are posted)
  • Check your child's video content before she/he posts to YouTube and ensure privacy settings and comment moderation are enabled to prevent personal information from being revealed.
  • Before using single sign-on (a website's ability to remember a password and allow users access to multiple independent but related websites without signing in separately), your child should verify the integrity of a site and read what permissions are being given when agreeing to single sign-on.
  • Your child may be ready for a personal cell or smart phone, but it should not be kept in your child’s bedroom overnight and you should check the call and text log to ensure you know who your child is communicating with. 
  • Skype or Facetime may be used to communicate with family and friends. Your child should be mindful of their privacy settings to avoid unwanted contact with strangers. 

We do not recommend

  • Foursquare and other location-based services
  • Ask.fm or other online anonymous posting sites
  • Bittorrent or other peer-to-peer file sharing sites

Additional Thoughts

By the 13/14s, many students are actively engaged in social media, both inside and outside of school on a daily basis. We encourage 13/14s to use these tools to develop interests, extend learning and build connections. 13/14s continue to receive access to the Google Apps for Education suite of tools, including a restricted Bank Street email account.

In the 13/14s the Internet takes on an even more important role for students as more of their academic work requires some sort of technological component. Under close faculty guidance, 13/14s will continue to learn best practices for online interaction and participation. They will create online content that will be shared outside the Bank Street community.

You should be aware of sites to which your child signs up and you should have frequent conversations with your child about his/her use of these sites. 13/14s benefit from having safe spaces online to explore their use of tone and voice, to take risks, make mistakes and receive guidance from the classroom community. Bank Street provides classroom web spaces for students to do this. Families are given read-only permission to these sites by requesting access from the child's teacher.

13/14s need breaks from being connected and have trouble setting these boundaries for themselves. So while 13/14s may be ready for a personal cell or smart phone, it should not be kept in your child's bedroom overnight. An iPod Touch or similar device may be a good alternative to a smart or cell phone.

If used, Instagram photos should be kept private and not geotagged when uploaded. You and your child should be aware that Instagram does not filter pictures and your child may encounter content that makes them uncomfortable. Given the safety concerns around the geolocation nature of Foursquare, usage is not recommended.

Your child is creating an online persona. It is important that your child maintain appropriate levels of privacy. Pay careful attention  to privacy settings on all social accounts, and your family should have discussions about online content and behavior. You should maintain clear expectations for your child’s participation in social media and set limits when necessary. Given the important way that social media sites can create a digital footprint for your child, it is particularly important to closely monitor their activity by friending or following your child. Regular discussions with your child about these sites and their activities is also important to their developmental growth. However, you are the ultimate decision-makers in how, when and where your child spends time online.