Day in the Life of a Tween Palm User
By Joanne Miloseski
First time mom of a tween. It’s not easy in this digital age, but then again when has it ever been easy for a mom navigating through the unpredictable world of young adolescence? I personally think it’s harder now. Schools used to be my safe haven growing up. Now, we have to think about guns, weapons, possible lock downs, violence and exposure to the unthinkable. It’s the reality- and with reality comes responsibility.
I watch my daughter as I drop her off at school every morning. My confident, beautiful child with her backpack slung over her shoulder, golden locks glinting in the early morning sun. She’s still young enough to turn around, grin at her mama, throw me a kiss and not be embarrassed just yet. I enjoy the moment. And love the fact that her Palm phone is right around her wrist- stylish and tiny- allowing me to stay connected and allowing her peace of mind knowing she can reach me at a moment’s notice.
I have so many friends that are anti-phones for their kids nowadays. I have a 10-year-old 4th grader, and I completely understand. Exposure to potential bullying in the dynamic, unsupervised world of Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter and Facebook can make any parent cringe in fear.
Funny enough, a close family friend said her daughter turned from a sweet, caring and engaging individual into a social media diva once she got her own personal smartphone. I asked “Why did you buy her own device, anyway?” Her response? “To stay connected so I know where she is and be available to her if needed.” Peace of mind on both ends- no brainer, eh? But what about the pitfalls of all this connectivity in the smartphone era?
The beauty of this new little adorable Palm is that my daughter can stay connected- albeit- on my terms. I still have supervision; I still have control over what she has access too. This tiny, little adorable compact phone has the accessibility to allow my daughter to communicate with me with specific rules in place. She knows with her phone comes responsibility. If she wants to stay connected and have this device, she has guardrails in place established by her parents.
There is an amazing app by Google called Family Link which allows parents to “set digital ground rules to help guide kids as they learn, play and explore online.” The beauty of Google Family Link allows us- her parents- to view her activity, manage her app downloads, remotely lock her device so when they give us pushback about not wanting to get off their phone, we, her parents, can easily and remotely lock the device whenever we see fit. Brilliant, no? The best part for me is I can see where my girl is at all times. With Family Link installed on the Palm, it can help me locate my daughter if any emergency comes into play.
Allowing my daughter to go on a bike ride by herself on the neighborhood trail? Unthinkable without my supervision until now. She gets on her bike, securing her helmet and loops her Palm onto her wrist. Off she rides onto the local trail, with total ease knowing that if she gets hurt or an emergency arises, she can easily text or call me in a moment’s notice. Plus, Palm tracks how many miles she goes on her bike so it motivates her to get outside- put down her screen- and live life in the moment. Both on her terms, and mine.
Another must-have service for parents is Bark. Bark proactively monitors text messages, YouTube, emails and many social networks for potential safety concerns. You’ll get automatic alerts to signs of cyberbullying, depression, online predators, adult content and more. Within a few minutes of setting up Bark on my daughter’s accounts, we were alerted of potential issues related to some of the YouTube channels she subscribed to. Look- we can’t keep our kids in the dark, as much as we try. They are going to have access to social media eventually. The brilliant part of Palm (and Bark) is that it allows an introductory, easy way to begin the navigation of smartphones with parental discretion.
Her Palm is tiny; literally fitting in the palm of her hand. Every morning, she tucks it around her wrist on her way to school and upon entering her classroom, it is safely hidden in the small front pocket of her backpack. Instead of buying them a full fledged expensive smartphone, for under $300, your child can begin the introductory world of connectivity- the way we, as her parents see fit.
After school, this mom doesn’t have to stress like before. Between running errands, school meetings, meal prepping or a business meeting running over, I can easily text her and let her know Mom is running late and to find her brother and wait patiently for me at the pick up line. Anxiety and worries on both ends solved.
Palm has changed our lives truly for the better. The total ease of knowing I am connected to my child on our specific terms allows me to slowly introduce the world of smartphones in baby steps, my way. It empowers my child peace of mind knowing she is connected to her parents if the need arises on a device designed to stay connected but not overshadowed by social media temptations. So, she can still stay a kid. And I can stay somewhat sane with the help of Palm.