Living in digitally fueled times, it is easy to see our children get carried away and be in front of the screen most of the time. While technology has taken a center seat in many spheres of life, we mustn’t overdo it.
Unlimited time with technology may keep kids occupied but it’s important that they don’t spend long hours in front of the screen irrespective of the purpose. The balance must be there. Setting limits on screen time isn’t easy and so here are some tips that will help you teach your children healthy use of technology as well as skills & habits that will make them successful digital citizens.
1. The Ground Rules
Experts suggest that children do as we do not as we say. Going by this is essential to model the behavior you want to see in your kids. Children look up to their parents. Asking kids to control screen time while scrolling down the mobile every spare minute you get won’t make it happen ever. The next time you decide upon binge-watching your favorite show, remember that you’re setting an example for your kids. The foremost important point in controlling children’s screen time is to have set rules at home. These aren’t only for the children but everyone at home should abide by these set rules. The following are some rules that you can implement at home.
- Make rules on not using electric devices in certain zones of the house. It could be your dining hall or dinner table or any place where you see yourself sitting together with kids. Reserve those zones for having meals and conversations and the whole family should not use any electronic device in those areas.
- Fix a time for the family to unplug from the cell phones. For instance, make a habit to switch off your phone a few hours prior you go to bed. That time can be spent with family or the little joys you get from reading, painting, or any hobby that you enjoy. Remember, children look and learn. This is a great way to help them cultivate good habits like giving time to things that bring them joy.
- Opt for alternatives to technology-based activities. This not only is a great way to spend time with your family but also gives you all a break from tech devices and spend quality time together. Try indulging in activities that do not include the use of your mobile devices. This could be playing board games or any indoor game or a day out in the sun!
2. Do Not Put A Television In Your Children’s Bedroom
If your child has a personal television, it would be impossible for you to monitor their screen time. They can easily use it out of your sight at any time. For this reason, you might want to make it a rule that TVs, video game systems, and computers are not allowed in your child's bedroom. This also includes handheld devices that your kids might be tempted to use late at night, which could interfere with their sleep. Also, having a TV in the bedroom has been linked to several problems including lower test scores, sleeping problems, and obesity
3. Place Time Limits
Set proper time limits for screen consumption especially when used for leisure. Since technology has become a part of education you cannot stop your child to use it for their education as and when needed. But you can set a time limit when it comes to watching movies, playing games, using various social media and so. A couple of hours a week dedicated to their leisure is a fair deal. Limit the amount of time your child spends with technology. More importantly, be committed and stick to those times you set.
4. Educate Yourself on Electronics
It would be wise to say that children today are born with technical DNA. By this I mean, children are quick to learn and get a grip over technology far easier than their parents. This is the case with most parents. While tech-savvy kids introduce parents to all new things in technology, their curiosity to learn all tech can land them in possible dangers on the web. As parents, you need to stay updated on the latest apps, games, and social media platforms, and trends. For instance, you can’t teach your children about the risks of using social media improperly unless you completely understand it by yourself.
5. Use Parental Controls
While overusing technology is an issue, what’s worse is to see your children get exposed to explicit and inappropriate content on the web. Since most kids have smartphones and access to the internet with ample reasons for the need for it; justifies and clever both; what you can do is to make use of software that gives you parental control over the online activities of your kids. There are tools you can use to protect your kids from accessing explicit content on the Internet and TV. With these tools in action, you can easily filter or block the content you don’t want your child to access.
Smartphones come with built-in settings or apps that you can download to create content filters. A lot of children appropriate apps are available so that you can provide kids with a safe and healthy internet experience. It is very important to protect children from inappropriate content on the Internet or TV. Hence using parental controls would a good idea. This allows parents to monitor children.
There is no doubt that technology opens door to many wonderful opportunities and to lead in future times we must be well versed with the advancing tech. However, excess of anything can hurt one’s health and wellbeing.
Since technology has become an important part of our life, the least we can do is manage the consumption of it and utilize it in a healthy way. If we do so, our children naturally will observe and learn the same. While you encourage your children to unplug, keep in mind that you do the same, and set a good example to lead by.