Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Back To School, Back to Technology

FTC disclaimer:  I am part of the U.S. Cellular Better Moments Blogger Brigade.  This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.

U.S. Cellular offers a FREE PRINTABLE Parent Child agreement to help you discuss safety of the Internet, cell phone usage, limits, and courtesy with your teen or tween.  You don't even need to be a U.S. Cellular customer to access this, although I have been for 10 years and highly recommend them. 

I never thought I'd be saying "Back in my day" at such a young age.  I attended my 25th high school reunion this month, and the world has changed so much since 1991, that I can't even begin to imagine going to school now.  I got on the Internet the first time at computer camp in 1985 -- it was a bulletin board system and much different from what we now think of as the Internet, but I had no idea that one day this amazing thing we were watching teachers chat about lesson plans in real time -- this newfangled technology would be the way I would make my living.  We were encouraged to start thinking of what we wanted to do in life as early as age 8, and amazingly, many from my class are working in jobs that if we would have told a teacher they wanted to grow up to do what they are doing *now*, the teacher would have told us to quit dreaming.

So, that's why when I think of school, I don't think of technology.  My husband is younger than I am, and he remembers being in high school and getting a text from his family on 9/11.  The only phone I remember in school was the one right beside the chip machine in the Commons Area.  

But, technology is here to stay, and for our young people to be able to compete in the world we are living in, they need a device to use for school work.  

U.S. Cellular offers a variety of devices that will be sure to fit your student's need.  There iPhone 6 and iPad Air are excellent devices from which to choose for your back to school shopping.  As amazing as it is to me, many schools are actually using tablets and smartphones in the classroom.  Electronic textbooks mean less bulky books in backpacks.  I would have loved that as a child as we had to take home every textbook from November through April in case we had a snow day the next day and had make-up work to do.  

With cell phones and tablets it helps students and teachers to be able to get all the information they need even without being in the classroom.  I can remember some of the projects we worked on when I was in school, and how much easier they would have been with technology.  Even study groups could have met online if need be.  In fact, I suggested to some friends who were unable to make it to our high school reunion to use Facetime to be able to say hello to everyone.  

A huge question this time of year is about data usage, family plans, and price of new devices.  Part of this is because students are allowed to use smartphones instead of books in some classes, and this is often a part of back to school shopping.  Another reason is because of sports and other after school activities and parents want to be able to check in with their child, or because their teen may be home alone until a parent gets off work.   As little as five years ago, the average age for a child to get a cell phone was 14.  Now that age is 11.  The appropriate time can vary due to your child and your family, but all you need to do is visit your local U.S. Cellular store and the associates can help you learn what device and plan would best suit your need.  One thing I love about U.S. Cellular is I've never encountered a hard sell technique.  The associates answer questions and really want to help you find what works best for you.  

One thing to keep in mind is that when your child first gets a cell phone you will want to discuss safety, courtesy, and responsibility.  This isn't always easy, and because of this, U.S. Cellular has developed a customizable Parent - Child Agreement so that you can help set guidelines for technology use that fits the specific needs of your family.  

Of course, you'll still want to make sure they are only using apps appropriate to their age, monitor their web usage and block certain websites.

An excellent resource for beginning drivers is the U.S. Cellular Vehicle Monitoring system.  It can allow you as a parent to know where your teenager is, decipher engine codes to be aware of any mechanical issues, knowing if your teenager is speeding, and more.  

So stop by your local U.S. Cellular store and see how an associate can assist you with your back to school technology shopping!


17 comments:

  1. Technology is such an important part of kids' lives now. It's important to instruct them on proper use and safety.

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  2. I've been trying to keep my kids off of too much technology because I find it's a little sad when families are so absorbed with devices instead of each other!

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  3. My boys are 5 & 6 and already extremely into all forms of technology. I think as long as a child is monitored and limits are set that technology is a great thing. Afterall, it is their future.

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  4. I think the parent-child agreement is a great idea. I know so many kid/parents that have so many problems with their technology issues nowadays. You really have to have set boundaries to begin with and make the kids accountable or you are asking for trouble.

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  5. If a child doesn't have a smartphone or a tablet or some device they will miss out on learning opportunities that other children are getting, so its essential to have one. When a teacher asks your child to pull out the device and look something up, and yes teachers do this if your child does not have the device they will miss the opportunity to do it themselves. I think its important to teach kids that these devices can be used for education and learning along with all the fun stuff they can do on them.

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  6. this is great idea, just be like a future school

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  7. Technology can be good and can be bad. All my kids are teens and have cell phones, but when it cans to dinner and chores the phones get put away. No phones after 9 pm. They use their phones for homework because right now we don't have a computer.

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  8. Technology actually help children to become more advanced. But it's not always good for children if they don't uses it safely. It's not always safe for children to have the electronics device at the bus stop, because a thief could end up approaching them and hurting them.

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  9. Technology is becoming more and more important but I think kids are becoming too reliant on technology.

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  10. My kids are 8 and 9. I don't think they are ready for smartphones, even though they have friends with them. They both have iPads with educational apps.

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  11. this is a hot topic in my house, obviously we will allow technology but limited screen time.

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  12. Children are getting smart phones so young these days. I think it's important to monitor what they do. I love the U.S. Cellular Vehicle Monitoring system. Sounds like a wonderful idea!

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  13. Too many times have I seen kids failing with spelling or grammar because they are used to using auto correct. There are good and bad things about technology, but I think kids need a balance between the two. They need to use pencil and paper just as much as a computer.

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  14. I wish we would have had some of this technology available when I was younger. It's important for children to learn how to use technology responsibly but not let it run their lives.

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  15. Technology is both good and bad. I think some children get tablets and cell phones way too young. Our girls didn't get them until they were teens.

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  16. Technology is of utmost importance, including the kids. I only hope that we can teach them to be etiquette with the phones.

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  17. We just had our 50th class reunion so you can imagine how all this technology boggles my old mind.

    slehan at juno dot com

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