Author Archives: Casey Brown

About Casey Brown

Casey Brown is a mom of two boys, a writer, and a high school French teacher with 19 years of classroom experience. She is passionate about travelling the world, writing, reading, and spending time with family. She has a bachelor’s degree in French Education and a master’s degree in Education (Curriculum and Teacher Leadership).

Modeling Good Tech Habits for Our Kids

TLDR: If we want our children to have a positive and healthy relationship with technology, then we need to model these behaviors for them. We need to practice what we preach.

I spend a lot of time wondering what the technological future will hold for my children. The world is changing so quickly, and more and more people have a device in their hands throughout the entire day. Nowadays many of us just wear technology around our wrist so we can have it attached to us at all times. Is this what I want for my kiddos? Do I want them to feel the need to be constantly connected to the digital world?

Whenever I start thinking about how connected this world has become, I start to become nostalgic for the ways things used to be. Do you remember going to dinner with friends and no one looking at a phone? Do you remember having a conversation with your spouse without him staring at a message on his watch? Do you remember a time when kids just had to stare out the window on a long car trip instead of watching a video? Or sit at a restaurant and just patiently wait instead of playing a game on a phone? I long for this technology-free time. I hope that someday my children will get to experience it: a moment to live in the now and disconnect, a moment to breathe in the air and detach from the technology that surrounds us.

Upon reflection, I realize that I cannot expect my kiddos to learn this on their own. Just like I teach them to say “please” and “thank you,” to show respect to their grandparents, and to tie their shoes, I must model this behavior for them. I am definitely aware that they are watching everything I do and say. If I am constantly attached to my phone, then someday they will be as well. If I want them to turn off devices and breathe every once in awhile, then I need to show them this behavior. I realize that I have to think of the advice I’m going to give them as they get older, and then I need to model that behavior for them now. Easier said than done, I’m sure.

Here are some goals for myself so that hopefully as my children get older they can emulate some positive techie behavior:

1. Set limits on screen time

If you want to make sure your kiddos aren’t on a screen 99% of their day, then you have to make sure you aren’t as well. Turn off your phone (or at least put it on “Do Not Disturb”) for certain times during the day. Close your laptop. Let your children see you without a screen in your face. Set a timer and be tech-free for an hour or two each evening.

2. No technology during meals

You want your kids to focus on eating when you are eating? Then you have to make the same commitment as well. No checking emails or scrolling the news while you eat your breakfast. Concentrate on some mindful eating practices. Make the rule that there are never devices at the table when eating. This applies to restaurants as well.

3. Keep screens out of the bedrooms

Your kids would be too tempted if there were a tablet right next to their beds, and you would be tempted as well. How many of us sleep with our phone next to the bed? How many of us hope our teenagers do not sleep next to their phones someday? I definitely want my child sleeping and not texting or watching videos as he gets older. Plan to gather all devices at night and keep them in a common area to charge (like a kitchen.) These devices are off-limits when it’s time to relax and start getting ready for bed. Everyone will sleep better without the distraction of technology.

4. Focus on one thing at a time

We will want our kids to be fully present in whatever they choose to do. We need to demonstrate the same. If someone is speaking to us, we must put the phone away. If I’m working on a project on my laptop, I should not be streaming a video to the television and texting friends on my phone at the same time. Focusing means choosing one thing to which we devote our attention. Choose one thing and give it your all.

5. Never use a device while driving (duh!)

I think we all know this, but I feel like it can never be said enough. I see my husband grab his phone while driving, and our kids are in the back of the car. “What are you doing?!” I’ll say. I cannot stand it. Not only is he putting our entire family in danger, but he is also modeling for our children that this is okay. I do not want my boys to be distracted drivers, so I need my husband to stop doing this. (I also want all of us to stay alive so I also need him to stop for that reason too.)

6. Limit social media use

Just because something happens doesn’t mean you have to post it. I see adults make this error all of the time. Quit posting your life and start living it. Once my kids have access to social media, they need to still have a life that is not lived out for their “followers”. They need to be cautious and thoughtful. Those profiles never truly disappear. Adults need to remember this as well and model thoughtful social media etiquette.

Bottom line

Ultimately we only get so many hours here on this earth. As parents, we want our children to live long, healthy, and happy lives. We want them to have friends and create memories. But to do this, they must be present. They have to shut down their devices and make true connections with real-life people. How are they going to know how to do this while living in this challenging world surrounded by technological influences everywhere? We as parents are going to show them. We are going to wisely use technology, but also shut it down and live in the moment. None of us want life to pass us by while we are sitting behind a screen. And we certainly don’t want that for our children.

(all photos are from

Is YouTube Safe for Kids?

No, YouTube is not safe for kids to watch without close parent supervision. YouTube terms of service prohibit using YouTube website to children under 13 years old.


It’s seems like from birth my kiddos have had a technological device in their hands. Intuitively they’ve known how to swipe, click, and select their favorite things on their favorite devices. I do limit the time my children are exposed to devices, but I’m also not one to say that technology is nothing but evil. I think there are some real positives to kids using technology and services like YouTube. Even though I impose limits to screen time and place restrictions on their technology use, I still wonder about what they are accessing on these devices.

Lately, I’ve started to become more concerned that maybe I need to be exploring better options for my kids. Their love of YouTube (and my love of many of its offerings for children) is a tough habit to break. I have more recently begun to wonder: Is YouTube okay for my kids? Can it be used in a positive way? How safe is YouTube for children?

Child with phone

The good side of YouTube

Occasionally, I’ll hear my toddler state a fact about a dinosaur that I’m pretty sure we’ve never taught him. Or even mention a dinosaur that I have never heard of before. When I follow up with him, he explains that he learned about it on YouTube. I search for that dinosaur, and there it is! He really did learn about it in a video.

When we have a rainy day and want to do something fun, YouTube will teach us many fun activities to try. For our first attempt at making slime, we watched a video together, and then we gave it a try. It was a huge success.

Sometimes I’m at the doctor’s office with my children, and they need to get shots. And they’re miserable. I’ll try distracting them with funny faces, hugs, and silly songs. Finally, I offer them the chance to watch Elmo on my phone. I search YouTube for Elmo, and there he is. My child hears his voice, sees his fuzzy red face, and relaxes a bit. The distraction is good. The calming effect is helpful, and all is right with the world.

YouTube obviously is a tool that has a positive side to it. But what are its downfalls?

The negatives of YouTube

When my kids click on YouTube videos, they might see animals in the wild or see their favorite characters singing a catchy tune. They might hear a character teaching a foreign language or introducing numbers and shapes. Wouldn’t it be great if these informative and appropriate videos were a guaranteed result?

Unfortunately, this isn’t always going to happen. I have overheard curse words coming out of YouTube videos when I have stepped away and a new video has loaded. I have seen scary and inappropriate pop-up ads for horror movies and other products geared toward adults. Additionally, I know there are a lot of crazy videos out there that I definitely do not want my kids viewing. There are disturbing videos with foul language, sex, violence, rudeness, bullying, and more.

This bad side to YouTube makes me want to sit next to my child and watch every single video with him for the rest of his life. But I realize that this is not a realistic expectation.

What should we do as parents?

Because YouTube does have many positive aspects, and because I believe that everything is good in moderation — even technology, I am not at a place in life where I want to ban YouTube from my house. On its own, there are many risks and areas that are unsafe on YouTube for children of all ages. However, I would say that YouTube is a safe place for children if restrictions and safe viewing programs are in place. With a little research, parents can find a safe viewing tool that can create a safe YouTube experience for their kiddos.

(All photos from