How to manage technology use for kids
Do you remember what you used to do when you were a kid and you had to wait, such as when sitting in a waiting room? If you didn’t have a book, a Gameboy or a portable music device, you had to sit there with your own thoughts. This is less and less common for kids nowadays. It seems like there is always a screen in front of their face. That waiting time is so important for reflecting on one’s thoughts and actions and for developing patience and resilience. This is just one example of how overusing technology can negatively affect the current generation.
Still, technology is undeniably in the lives of everyone, including children. It is no longer an option to forbid its use. It is necessary for school homework, connecting with friends and it's a form of leisure too. Therefore, what parents can do is manage how their kids use technology, monitoring and encouraging healthy use of different devices. Keep reading to check out some ways of doing that.
1. Make sure they understand why this is important
It may be very clear to you why it's important that your children use technology the right way, but not so clear to them. They may see this as just another prohibition. So make sure they understand why this is important. Explain the dangers technology may have and all of its possible harms, but also talk about how many benefits it can have when used wisely. Having this open communication is essential for the other steps to be followed.
2. Set clear rules and boundaries.
Kids may not know how much is too much, therefore, you can limit screen time to a certain amount of hours a day. It is also a good idea to set a specific time of the day for the use of the tablet, cell phone, etc, for example, after the homework is finished. Of course, each family is different, so find what works best for yours and stick to it.
Also, remember to be clear about your expectations and the consequences faced in case the rules are not followed.
3. Monitor their activity
You can keep track of their activity by checking the device’s history, but they may delete it or browse incognito, so an alternative is to use a parental control software or content filters. In addition, go to the device settings and check the apps usage to see how much time is spent on each app.
4. Encourage positive use
You can always remind the little ones that the internet can be much more than a distraction. Tell them about some benefits, like learning new things, boosting creativity and promoting socialization. Explore and present the kids to educational apps, apps for creating digital art, and encourage them to connect with friends and family.
5. Be a model of responsible tech use
The best way to get your children to develop habits is to lead by example. Limit your own screen time and find other ways to have leisure and dive into hobbies. A good exercise is to put all devices away during family time to avoid distractions and to remind yourselves that you can have fun without them.
Also, encourage them to practice good digital citizenship, like leaving reviews for products you buy or sharing ideas and inspiration with friends.
As you can see, it is very possible to help kids develop healthy habits around technology. All it takes is having open communication, setting rules, monitoring, encouraging positive use and being a role model. We hope this post has inspired you to explore tech to its best use and keep your kids safe online.