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Explore important tech topics to keep your Early Childhood children safe when they are online at home
Safety @ Home

You have control over what and when your children have access to the Internet while they are home.

You can use your Wifi router to set parental controls to limit screen time, pause wifi, and more. These parental controls only work when the child is logged onto your home network (For options to safeguard your children when they are away from home, see “Content Filtering & Monitoring for Devices.”)

This CNET article provides a great overview of how to set your Wifi Router.

Here are links to parental control how-tos from the most popular Internet Service Providers in San Diego: 





Content Filter & Monitoring for Devices

In addition to using your Wifi router to limit your children’s access to the Internet, there are apps and devices that may give you additional controls you can manage from your smartphone which work when your child is away from home. 

Here are some of the top recommended apps: 

Bark monitoring 

Google Family (for Chromebooks)

Securly for home

Device Settings

If your child has access to a device, such as an iPad, iPhone, or Voice Activated Device, you might want to set parental controls to limit what they have access to and for how long they can use the device. This could be useful in addition to any home Wifi router settings you have established because the controls you set on the device itself follow the child’s device when he is not on your home Wifi. 

For this age group, you might want to limit the type of apps your child can use, block explicit content, disable the child’s ability to download and/or purchase apps, and limit screen time. Here are some helpful  how-tos: 

Android Devices

Apple Devices

Recommended: Watch Common Sense Media’s  5 Tips for Using Smart Devices Safely and Responsibly. 

See our recommendations for apps we believe are appropriate for this age in the Apps @ Home link.

Privacy & Data Security

In addition to restricting screen time, app purchases, content filtering, etc., we recommend you employ a few additional steps to manage. For instance, if your child has access to a device, you may wish to turn off Location services and set up other privacy settings. 

For more information, see: Apple’s “Use Parental Controls” or Android’s “Privacy Settings.”

Digital Citizenship @ Home

Though our youngest learners do not use technology while at school, we believe that it’s never too early to help them begin to understand that using devices comes with responsibilities.  

For your younger children, we suggest finding ways to help them balance their time on devices. Below we offer you some ideas to support young learners that coincide with our Gillispie ICARE Values of Integrity, Compassion, Attitude, Respect, and Effort. 

Additionally, we offer some guidance on best practices for some of parents’ biggest concerns around technology and digital devices.

ICARE Digital Citizenship Values

I: Integrity

If you allow your child to use a device, we recommend that you tell them what they can do and for how long. Though our younger learners may not necessarily know about time, they do understand limits. For instance, you might tell them that they can use the device until dinner begins. Help them to listen to you the first time by giving them a transition period. For instance, before you want them to stop using the device, you can tell them you are going to sing the ABC song or count to 10 and at the end they will need to put the device down.

C: Compassion

At Gillispie, we always try to find ways to show compassion to others. When it comes to digital devices, we can encourage our younger students to show compassion by agreeing to share their device with siblings. We can also help them to understand the concept of sharing devices when we let them use ours. For instance, you might say to your child, “I am happy to share my device with you!” This helps them to understand that you are in control of the device and that using one is a privilege, not a right.

A: Attitude

To help our youngest children have a healthy relationship with technology we can model our own use of technology. This is no doubt a challenge for us all! However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that by balancing our use of technology, our children begin to formulate their own understanding of roles technology plays in our lives.

R: Respect

From an early age, our young children learn how to take care of things. You teach them how to put their toys away when they are done or how to put their trash in the trash bin. This same level of responsibility should be applied when children use devices. They should learn how to hold them properly, and how to put them away when they are told. By practicing this, our young children will begin to develop an understanding that will become very important when they get older and have their own device.

E: Effort

We all know that for young children coping with frustration comes with time. One way we can help them to develop resiliency is to teach them how to overcome frustration they might experience when their device won’t work. We can encourage them to put the device down and take three deep breaths before they try again and encourage them to ask you for help if they start feeling frustrated.

Parent’s FAQs: Best Practices at home


The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization both recommend that children have minimal screen time. We suggest that when you do allow your children screen time you select programming that is age-appropriate and educational and that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Common Sense Media is an excellent resource to look for age-appropriate TV, Movie, Games, Apps! 

To help your child accept and understand your screen time limits, we recommend that you tell them before they have access to a device the time limit they have. You might also consider giving them a warning when it’s time to wrap up their screen time. You can use a timer to signal the end of screen time. 

RECOMMENDED WATCH: 5 tips for avoiding meltdowns from Common Sense Media

Using Tech for Consequences:

Using technology as a consequence (reward or punishment) can be tricky. If you restrict their use of the iPad they wish to turn to the TV. Conversely, if you use technology to reward behavior, that may send a signal that technology is to be revered, which is counterintuitive to “balancing” our use of technology. While there is no one “right” way, the best recommendation we have is that whatever practices you put into place, make sure you’re consistent. Give yourself and your child time to develop the good habits and practices you wish to see and for the boundaries you set to settle in. 

Model Balance

Even though it may not seem like it, your child does watch how you behave. You’ve heard this a million times before, but it’s true — if we want our children to find balance with their devices, then we have to be role models. This funny clip from Common Sense Media pokes fun at how distracted parents can be on devices and what our children see: Distracted Parents

Choosing Apps and Shows that are Age-Appropriate & COPPA Compliant

It’s impossible to expect that you can preview every show or play every digital game before you allow your child to have access to them. We recommend that you use Common Sense Media’s Parent Tips where they rate shows, games, apps and much more and give you quick previews and insights into what you can expect. 

COPPA Compliant

The FTC has created certain protections for children and their parents to protect their privacy, called the Child Online Protection and Privacy Act (COPPA). COPPA  directs operators of websites and online services on how to protect children’s privacy and safety online. You can learn more about COPPA on the FTC website. You should also check the site’s Privacy or Terms of Service, paying particular attention to the following. 

Before your child has access to an app, site or game, check to see if it is COPPA compliant

Apps @ Home

Below you will find some of our recommendations for apps that are age-appropriate, COPPA Compliant, and meet our standards for creativity. We have carefully curated these apps based on our own experiences with them and the value for learning we believe they afford. We also recommend that before you choose an app, game, or show for your child, you visit Common Sense Media’s Parent Tips pages, where they rate shows, games, apps, and much more and give you quick previews and insights into what you can expect.

Apps for Creativity 4-5 years
Apps for Coding 4-5 years
Apps for Active Learning 4-5 years

Recommended Videos

5 Tips for Using Smart Devices Safely and Responsibly

Click Here to Watch Now!

5 Tips for Avoiding Meltdowns from Common Sense Media

Click Here to Watch Now!

Tech Tips Blog Posts

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Need Additional Assistance?

Contact Lisa Waters
Director of Technology
(858) 459-3773 ext. 155
[email protected]

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