This story was originally published Oct. 3, 2018 on ourquadcities.com. Story by Shawn Loging.

Clinton, Iowa –

It can be hard to keep up with the latest technology considering how quickly it can change.

It can be especially difficult for parents trying to protect their kids from ever-evolving dangers online.

Often when children come home, the first thing to do is reach for a device.

Partnership for a Drug-Free Iowa told Local Four News, this topic has been part of their research focus on improving the health of children and too much can harm children.

That includes difficulty sleeping, trouble with school work and coming across dangerous content or people.

The Partnership told Local Four News, rather than leaving kids to their own devices, it starts by providing guidance and management of how the tools are used.

They said while technology can be a significant asset to a child’s life when it becomes the priority, that’s when the screens can start to hurt.

Parent Lettie Posey said, “ I think I’m already seeing some of the addictive tendencies.”

Lettie Posey has a two and five-year-old who are already well educated on the use of a touchscreen.

Posey said, “Still want to get on the iPad. Watch TV, watch Netflix and that type of stuff.”

But for the mother of two, she told Local Four News, she’s setting boundaries on time and use to keep them some from too much exposure and navigating to someplace dangerous.

Posey said, “Studies out there that talk about children being exposed to pornography and illicit things on the internet as early as eight to eleven, so my children aren’t that far off.”

That’s why a partnership of organizations and schools in the Clinton, Iowa area are coming together to help teach responsible use of tech.

Partnership for a Drug-Free Iowa President Peter Komendowski “It’s like a hammer, you can build a home with it, and you’ve done a great thing or you can hit someone in the head with it and done a bad thing.”

Peter Komendowski with Partnership for a Drug Free Iowa, which runs the Iowa Media Literacy Project, told Local Four News like anything children need direction on how to best prioritize in real life and online, as virtual become more common.

Komendowski said, “Screen time is going up as opposed to time with parents, family, friends, doing homework, doing things with other kids.”

He said as teens average up to 60 hours a week in front of screens, parents can do a lot to road map and decrease the negative consequences of the devices.

Komendowski said, “The other thing is to manage their time to get the job that they’re supposed to do as children.”

For Posey, she’s been learning as much as she can to help protect and teach her kids.

Posey said, “Coach them through what they’re going to be exposed to, so that they can use technology to benefit them and not hurt them.”

Posey also told Local Four News, she tries to set an example by managing her own screen time

This topic is part of a 13 session Parenting Education Series addressing technology, bullying and substance abuse.

It is being organized by the Gateway Impact Coalition and Camanche-DeWitt Coalition in partnership with Camanche, Central DeWitt, Clinton and Riverbend school district and St. Joseph Catholic School

A full list can be found here.

Parents can find additional information at Parents’ Choice and Common Sense Media.

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