We are always an arm’s reach away from technology. Some people would not know how to function without their phone, computer, tablet or television. The problem for many of us- finding the right balance.
Many of us are glued to our screens. I notice families at restaurants where the kids are watching television and the parents are staring at their phones. In the car, kids are watching television, each on their own screen. It seems that kids would rather play a video game then play outside.
It is easy to get addicted to our screens. All that information so quickly accessible, sound notifications every moment a new email, text message or post arrives, it is enough to keep any person distracted. With so much to do, navigating a child’s screen time gets ignored by parents.
Technology is useful and fun, but finding the perfect balance is difficult. It is difficult for adults to disconnect, but kids growing up in this culture have it much harder.
First, we must realize the need to limit the use of technology. Then we can take steps to control the influence technology has on our child. Use these 3 steps to assist you in getting the right balance; knowing when to use it and when to turn it off.
Most couples talk about what age a child can wear makeup, get their ears pierced, or open a bank account, but they overlook the conversation about when their child can own a smartphone or tablet. The same holds true for social media accounts. At what age will you allow your child to use Facebook?
Plenty of articles have been written about what age to give a kid a cell phone, but ultimately, that decision is yours. You must weigh the benefits and dangers involved. Talk with your spouse and decide on a age. You may decided to allow each child you have to use technology at a different age, depending on their maturity level.
Once the age limit is established. Consider setting a limit for how much time your child spends on each device. Take into account all the screens they are watching, television, computer, tablet, and smartphone.
Set a daily limit for each device and also a total weekly limit, a number your child should not exceed. Use parental controls to help keep you and your child honest.
Many devices come with free parental controls built into them. If not, consider third party software. It costs (price depends on the software and features) but you may require it for your situation.
Parental controls allow parents to set daily or weekly limits for the device. They also block content that you deem inappropriate. Most software systems allow parents to receive notifications by text or email when their child tries to access a blocked site, makes a poor choice in words, or breaks other rules.
Learn what you can about parental controls, because to help balance technology use you will need them.
How can we expect our child to follow guidelines we set up if we cannot follow them
ourselves? If you are spending more time in front of a screen instead of with your kids then you need to reevaluate your priorities.
Some people put away technology for a day; no phones, computers, or tablets are allowed to be turned on by anyone. If you cannot keep them off for an entire day, try half a day or start with a couple of hours.
When your focus is on the screen not on your child, they know. Set the example, put the phone down first.
With technology so accessible and fun it is hard to find a balance. As parents it is our responsibility to help our child use technology in a responsible manner. When you find that balance you and your child will lead a more fulfilling life.
Do you struggle with how often your child uses technology? What strategies have you put in place to help find a balance.