Digital media has become an eminent part of our lives. Social Media, digital education, TV shows, web series, news, and every information we consume today comes through digital media.
Needless to say, at times, media feels all-consuming and intervenes with our lives on a personal level. The impact of digital media on our lives depends on our consumption of it. Having good relation with digital media will land you up in great opportunities and positive growth. However, if you have an unbalanced relationship with media consumption, it can adversely affect your health and wellbeing.
Kids today are born with tech DNA, and right from the beginning, they have access to technology. While they're "growing up digitally", parents can help them cultivate healthy digital use habits.
Here are a few tips that parents can consider while outlining the basic media balance guidelines for their kids.
Model and Monitor Digital Boundaries
Expecting kids to not indulge in technology while you cannot keep your phone aside will leave you helpless. You must model the behaviour you expect from your kids. Setting digital boundaries can help. You can work out basic rules that seem fit to your kids and you and ensure you follow them collectively. Another critical factor is monitoring your kids' digital usage. This could be tricky, especially when you're dealing with mid-aged teens, but you have to ensure that you know their online activities. You have complete knowledge of their online and offline friends, the apps they use, their social media accounts, their time on the digital platforms, and what they're doing online and offline. The way to this is, have a healthy relationship with your kids, where you can comfortably create a dialogue around the use of digital media, how it is helping or affecting kids, their online peers, and talk about the why's behind the use of media, if in access. For instance, when you see your child using social media all the time, ask them why they feel the need of using it all the time. Is it because they're bored or sad or feeling lonely? Understanding the whys behind access use of technology will help you address tour Childs' concerns and help them with better digital habits and overall wellbeing.
Set Basic Ground Rules
Setting specific rules in place will help you with the digital monitoring of your kids and will help you and the kids strike a balance for tech usage. Creating certain boundaries and basic ground rules will help a lot. Create screen-free times and zones at home. Limit screen time in bedrooms, dinner tables, during the study time unless required, family time, etc., can help in media balance. Ensure kids don't use cellphones during their bedtime and an hour before their bedtime. Do not use phones as alarm clocks. Another way to manage media usage is to have parental controls in place. Ensure your kids take your permission before using any new app. understand the latest technology and its associated settings regarding data sharing and privacy. Help your kids understand the same. For younger kids, have all parental controls in place. Alongside conversations about healthy media habits, use features such as content filtering, privacy settings, and time limits offered by various apps and platforms kids use and limit their exposure and screen time.
With new apps and technology coming out every day, kids are curious to use them. However, it is possible that this ever-growing new tech pose threat to Childs' safety, data security and privacy. To help them navigate safely, be tech-savvy. Learn about the latest apps that your kids want to try. Understand how they work, if they have ads, their policies on user data and security.
For all parents who are constantly worried about their Childs' social media presence, make your accounts and learn the platforms. To help your child understand the appropriate use of these platforms, you'll have to understand them. You can talk to your kids and learn about these platforms. See if they offer parental controls and use the features as per need.
Encourage Screen-Free Activities
Kids need to learn how to be okay with being offline. Encourage screen-free activities like painting, dancing, outdoor sports, reading or anything that doesn't involve technology and help kids cultivate a habit of enjoying that time without depending on technology.
Do share how you help kids with media balance and well being in the comment section below!