It’s something that every parent has to deal with at some point. When our children are young, we can do what we can to shield them from devices, but there will come a time when our children take our cues and want to have their own phone or computer. So what can we do to ensure that our children have healthy relationships with technology, the internet, and devices in general?
Use Technology to Your Advantage
There are a number of things that you need to consider. Screen time is one of the biggest issues and there are plenty of apps on the market that can help you control screen time and which applications and functions your children have access to. But it’s also about making sure that your children know the areas they can and cannot venture into. Because we have to remember that our children will need to use technology to research and explore. And this is why you will need to give them the opportunities to have almost free rein within a certain context. This means helping them understand what technology is actually good for. Technology is an amazing way to create and store images and this means that your young children may very well start using your computer as a dumping ground for a whole manner of creations! And if you need to free up storage, you can learn how to do it here for your Mac. This may not be necessary as they get older, but you have to use certain tools to your advantage when they are younger so they can develop better screen habits that set them up for life.
When your child is old enough to have devices, you’ve got to lay the ground rules on how they can use the tech. And this means you’ve got to be aware of how they use it, but you can’t just give them a device and expect them to be responsible at the outset. Therefore, setting up rules in conjunction with a certain level of trust will help them become more responsible as they grow older. With younger kids, we can set rules, such as how many minutes they can use their screens. When your children are older you will need to educate them on how best to use their screens as part of the training process. You can try some of the following:
- The types of sites you don’t want them to visit.
- The dangers that are online.
- How to keep their devices safe and backed up in case of accidents.
- What time they should put their screens away at night.
As part of your rules, you need to ensure that they will take a break from the device whenever possible, especially in relation to the level of eyestrain and how screens impact their abilities to sleep.
Create “Screen-Free” Zones
It is easier said than done, but it’s something that we could all try. Having a part of the home with no computers, no television, and no phones is a great way to try out limiting everybody’s relationships with devices. You could remove devices from the dining room and the bedroom, which can help everybody as a family to become more connected at home. Family bonds are naturally important but we’ve also got to remember that devices are incredibly addictive. There’s so much that we think we are missing out on when we’re not looking at our phones- so if we, as adults, feel like this, imagine how your children feel?
Spending More Time Outside
As we all find that our devices are too tempting, we’ve got to become more creative in how we give our children the opportunities to engage with the world. If we all engage through devices we are never living in the moment. And for children that are really young, it’s an ideal opportunity to get them out and about so they can exercise and get a breath of fresh air. Taking them on nature walks where there’s really limited internet/phone reception is a very simple way to do this. It won’t happen instantly, but it is an amazing way to bring the family together.
Of course, technology is amazing for children in many ways. It stimulates their learning and can open them up to a larger world that they would not necessarily have access to. But of course, there is that knife-edge when it comes to technology and devices. If you really want your children to have a healthy relationship with technology and devices, it’s important that you lay the foundations but also remember that you set the right example.