Story provided by Stillwater Public Library
Meridian Technology Center (MTC) is presenting a “Parental Controls” class on Thursday, September 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Stillwater Public Library. Attendees will learn different ways to help children navigate the internet safely and how to block access to unfavorable sites. Space is limited and registration is required.
Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that provides media and technology recommendations for families and educators, advises parents to engage their children in conversations about online safety and be open about monitoring their online activity.
Justin Smola, Workforce and Economic Development Project Manager at Meridian, agrees that most of the time, letting children know you are monitoring them is best.
“Having a dialogue with your child about what your expectations are as well as your concerns for their safety will go a long way,” Smola said. “Ultimately, we want parents and guardians to feel secure in what their child is accessing and know the limits of what they can control.”
In the class, Smola will cover how to set screen time limits, block adult content and restrict what apps can be installed on devices. He will also review the pros and cons of using popular third-party apps such as Life360 and Covenant Eyes.
“It’s not always best to ban a child from online activity altogether,” Smola said. “The internet is such an integral part of everyone’s lives, and children may need to be online to do school work and engage with friends and family, so we want to help them do so safely.”
The library provides many safe resources to help children with their school work. One new resource now available to students through the library’s partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Libraries is HelpNow from Brainfuse, which has online live tutoring, writing labs, practice tests and more, free for patrons K-12 and beyond. Brainfuse HelpNow and many other databases are available at library.stillwater.org/databases.php.
The “Parental Controls” class is free but registration is required. Community members can sign up at tinyurl.com/MeridianTechSPL. Smola suggests that those who cannot attend the program research apps such as Google Family Link for Android and Family Safety for Windows computers and Microsoft devices. For more classes available with Meridian, check their website at meridiantech.edu.
The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. Library hours are Monday- Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.