Do you have a central location for your computer, laptop, or tablet? When Staples contacted me (yes, me!) and offered us an Acer Chromebook, we knew we were ready to set up our Family’s Computer Center. We’ve been researching the best ideas for having a internet-safe center.
I’ll be honest, this whole computer things makes me anxious. Part of me wants to take my kids and live under a rock. In the past, we haven’t allowed any technology on school nights. On the weekends and holidays (summer included), we allow them to “earn” their technology time.
As a mother, I want to teach my children how to exhibit self control and not let technology control them. How are we trying to train our children not to let technology rule their lives? To start, we are setting up a Family Computer Station. We’ll be adding on a Technology Contract, How to Earn Technology Time, and our Technology Elevator.
Keys to Success:
1. Set up a designated spot. A central location (like the kitchen) for a work station is critical. If you don’t have a set space, think about other options: card table, rolling cart, or even the kitchen table.
2. Screen visible. Make sure the screen is facing out for everyone to see.
3. Parental Controls. Allowing the internet into your home, is equivalent to letting the world inside. Google your device and find out how to put on parental controls and passwords.
4. Timer. We use our favorite homework timer next to the computer. This helps us not overload on too much technology. This is a visual timer. It makes no noise, you can visually see the time passing by, and it has a little ding at the end.
5. Contract. Think about creating a contract that outlines your family’s values and views on technology in your home.
6. Set limits on too much technology. More and more children are becoming addicted to technology. Get your kids outside. Be creative indoors and look for unplugged ideas. For better sleep, turn off technology an hour before bedtime.
Acer Chromebook Pros
- We were able to set this computer up fast! The Acer Chromebook appealed to us because it is simple to set up, updates automatically, has free apps (or extensions), has a 1 page start-up guide, and doesn’t require much set-up. Even with us trying to set-up parental controls, we were ready to go in 1 hour.
- Extensions we like: Adblock Plus – this is our favorite “extension”, no ads! This blocks all ads (you know which ones I mean!) and Metacert
- It switches between users effortlessly and your stuff is there when you switch back. Everyone can have their own files, settings, and apps.
Acer Chromebook Cons
- We can’t put our NetNanny software for parental controls.
- The keyboard is all in lowercase. Just a little thing, but it is strange.
- Google Accounts can only be set up by people 13 and older. So, if you want to have an account for your kids, you have to create it. Your kids do not need access to the email.
We’re still learning! Thank you so much Staples! We look forward to kicking off this school year right!