It is becoming harder and harder to keep up with ever changing and evolving technology. With news of self-driving cars and one day living on Mars, it is difficult to stay present with what is happening right under our own roof.
The idea of children embracing technology is one of most challenging topics to address. With the society we are living in today, it is inevitable that children will be exposed to gaming and social media at some point during their childhood. As parents, caregivers and teachers it is our responsibility to research and understand as much as possible about the benefits and risks that it may present.
Setting limits and boundaries for the children is vital to maintain some control over the use of devices, apps and video games. If you’re thinking your child is too young, continue reading, it is best to be prepared and know what your family’s boundaries are before situations arise in the future. I recently came across a blog that explained the 9 Screen Time Rules Every Family Needs. Feel free to use the link at the bottom of the page to connect to the blog where they have a number of blogs about social media and gaming, including the pros and cons of the popular game Fortnite. The suggested rules are as follows;
- Custom Rules for Each Child
Every child is different and as such, different rules may be appropriate. Whether those differences come in age or in maturity, parents should take the time to carefully consider what will work for each of their children. Some kids may need more guidance as to what kind of content is appropriate, while others may just need better limitations as to how much screen time is okay.
- Strive for Balance
Screen time is an amazing tool that can have so many uses and benefits for kids, but too much of anything is never a good thing. According to studies, increased screen time can lead to depression, higher BMIs, and poor sleep. Setting limits can teach your kids how to use screens and social media in a mindful way. Encourage your kids to have other interests and hobbies that don’t include tech and help them become more well-rounded individuals.
- Use Technology to Reinforce Real Life Skills
Learning can be enriched with technology when used in moderation and it can be an effective tool in assisting with homework and further learning. The Internet and screens can also be a great place to learn valuable life skills. Kids can become better communicators, learn the values of team work while playing games, and it can even help kids build confidence as they earn badges or increase their score.
- Actively Engage During Screen Time
Actively engaging with your kids during their screen time use can make it much more enriching for everyone involved. Not only do you and your kids get in some great bonding time but it’s great for parents to be able to understand what their children are doing online. Whether that’s playing a video game or learning about a new topic, it can be something that you both remember for the rest of your life.
- Set Good Examples
You know how the old saying goes… “practice what you preach”. How we can expect our kids to follow rules if we are not doing the same? While standards and rules will vary a bit between different members of the family, there are some things that parents should make sure they are doing consistently. Make sure to minimize distractions from your phone so that you can fully be present when talking with or participating in an activity with your kids. Making eye contact and listening to what your children have communicated will set a proper example for phone etiquette.
- Create Places and Times That are Tech-Free
Creating tech-free zones in your home is a great opportunity to allow for time and space to connect as a family. In the dining room and at meal times are great times for your family to all be together at once and talk about the day without the distraction of technology.
Bedrooms are also a great idea for a tech-free zone. Keeping bedrooms tech-free makes it easy to supervise what your family is doing online and also prevents kids from spending too much time scrolling through their phones late into the night.
- Diversify Screen Time
While too much screen time in general isn’t a good thing, there are some benefits to making sure your family gets to experience a multitude of online activities. Games can be highly addicting and substituting forms of educational or entertainment screen time can be an easy way of hitting pause on addictive tendencies without taking away screen time altogether.
- Use Technology as a Tool, Not a Crutch
Using technology as a babysitter to earn yourself a few free minutes in the afternoon can quickly go downhill. Technology is great way for both parents and kids to relax but depending on it too much can set your family up for tech addiction.
Without realizing it, adults and kids alike reach for screens and whenever we have a free second and it has become second nature for us to depend on our screens for entertainment, procrastination, and approval from our peers. Technology isn’t going anywhere, and we really don’t want it to, so we have to strive to find some middle ground where we can use technology in positive and fun ways without letting it consume us.
- Do Your Homework
As important as it is to set rules for your kids regarding screen time and the type of content that you allow your kids to access, it is equally as important for parents to do their due diligence. Before agreeing to let your child download a new app, parents should take time to explore the apps, games, and social platforms that their kids are interested in using.
In doing so, you not only have the ability to determine if they are age and content appropriate, but you can also create the opportunity to connect with your child through the activities that engage them online or in-app.
Please watch out for an upcoming parent discussion night on gaming and social media, where you will have the opportunity to share your experiences as parents and discuss what works for your family. We will also hand out more information about applications to be aware of on your children’s devices and talk more about video games with a special focus on using them to connect as a family.
The ‘9 Screen Time Rules For Every Family’ was written by David Savage and taken from https://wezift.com/parent-portal/blog/9-screen-time-rules-every-family-needs/