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Structuring Student Technology Use

Bellarmine is adapting curriculum from Common Sense Media to help our students prepare for their digital futures. In the iPad Orientation, we introduced our new students to all 6 digital literacy topics. If you would like to see these lessons, your son or daughter can show it to you on Blackbaud.

Designed and developed in partnership with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education -- and guided by research with thousands of educators -- each digital citizenship lesson takes on real challenges and digital dilemmas that students face today, giving them the skills they need to succeed as digital learners, leaders, and citizens tomorrow. Read about the research behind our curriculum.

July is the month we are distributing iPads and running our online student orientation. At this time, parents and students often have questions about the restrictions that Bellarmine places on iPads. My hope is that this page makes it clearer.

Where Do We Start? 

All iPads used at Bellarmine are supervised by Bellarmine. This gives us the ability to add and remove different restrictions. We start by turning most of the restrictions on for freshmen. This configures the iPad to work well for school work. There are very few options for social media, games and other entertainment. Limiting the iPads to functions that support school work generally help our students stay more focused using the iPad for learning.

If you get home with your iPad and you find the restrictions too limiting, contact Digital Services by phone with a request to loosen the restrictions. Call the main line (253-752-7701) and then press option 6. We can change the restriction settings from our office. If the iPad is connected to the Internet, the new settings will take effect quickly, usually in less than a minute. If you would like to work with us in person, you can bring your iPad to the Technology Support Center located in Orell Hall. We are open from 08:30 to 15:30 (3 pm), M-F all summer. Please remember your mask.

Bellarmine manages iPad restrictions using a mobile device management system (MDM) from Jamf Student. This tool allows us to restrict the iPads, or to remove restrictions when parents ask.

iPad Restriction Settings

Bellarmine restrictions include the following three areas. These restrictions greatly reduce the distractions on the iPads, as well as reduce some common forms of cheating.

  1. Access to the App Store is blocked. School approved apps are available in the Jamf Student app.
  2. Use of FaceTime for making video calls is blocked.
  3. Use of iMessage for sending text messages is blocked.

Internet Filters 

Bellarmine uses a filtering system on campus that limits Internet access. One set of filters protects students from harmful Internet content in accordance with the Federal CIPA law (Children's Internet Protection Act). The other set of filters increase productivity by limiting access to entertainment. 

Bellarmine does not filter iPad Internet use when students take their devices off campus. There are an increasing number of choices for services that parents can purchase that filter and monitor your families Internet use. I would leave you with a link from to get you started. You can "Google" this topic for additional information.

As a parent of a teen using technology, you are probably questioning whether your son or daughter is ready for so much responsibility. You are right to do so, and you are certainly not alone. Never before in history have young people been given so much responsibility with powerful communication tools as they are today. Our teens require our wisdom and guidance, some more than others.

One effective approach families can take to discuss, explore and express family values is to decide how technology use should be limited. Are there times when or places where using cell phones, tablets or computers is inappropriate? What does appropriate use of social media look like? How much screen time is appropriate when balanced against the other activities of one's day.  Should anyone sleep with technology? Why or why not?

The questions above will get you started, but they are only a beginning. I have offered an annotated list of sources below to help you deepen the discussion. I'm not making a broad endorsement of these sites personally, or on behalf of Bellarmine. I offer them because they will get you thinking about the responsibilities involved in 21 Century parenting, and I hope you find them helpful.

Title & Web Address (URL)


Teens And Tech Boundaries: Knowing And Setting Limits Stephanie Newman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, writes about parenting, teens, bullying, and technology.
Setting Limits on Technology: What’s Best for My Family?  Dr. Jesse Matthews, PA & Licensed Psychologist discusses some of the healthy boundaries that can be set regarding technology use.
How Can I Rein In My Teenager’s Technology? The writer offers parents of teens some practical advice for setting limits on technology use for families on the Your Teen for Parents web site.
Setting Computer Limits, Tips  Author Caroline Knorr writes for Common Sense Media on the topic of technology addiction. Perhaps addiction is an extreme case. However, considering the extreme can help a parent to set reasonable limits and to know when setting limits may not be enough.
Ways for parents to ease tussle with teens over tech use Julie Weed writes for the Seattle Times about strategies parents can use to guide teens through technology temptations.
10 Tips for Setting Limits on Electronics and Screen Time for Kids The writers at About.Com cut to the chase with 10 rules that families can use to set reasonable technology limits.