Kids and Technology: How To Set Boundaries
You cannot expect the technology to disappear but only develop further. It is a part of your reality, as well as that of your children. As with any other tool, teach them how to use it instead of shielding them from it or letting them cope on their own.
How do they spend their time?
On a sunny day, does your child go outside or stay indoors and play a video game? If the latter is the answer to the question and it happens frequently, something has to be done about it. First of all, they are missing out on fresh air and a chance to be active. Second, they fail to spend time socializing with their peers. Finally, certain children’s games help their physical and mental development and it is something most video games cannot be a substitute for.
Are they dedicated to family time?
How do they function as a part of the family? Interest and dedication may sound serious, but everyone can show them at an age-appropriate level. Spending quality time with the family determines a child’s emotional development. Make sure the electronics are not present during family time and you have regular family activities planned.
How bored are they?
The new age and the presence of instant entertainment through various electronic devices have made us lazy. A lot of people have completely shut down the part of their brains which help them entertain themselves. If you notice your child is bored without the TV, a smartphone, or their video games (don’t you worry, they’ll let you know!) it is a high time to act.
Discuss setting guidelines and do it
Talking to your children will make them more inclined toward following the rules. Explain your reasons behind them and your children will show less resistance. Create the guidelines together. Think through your proposal of guidelines. Be prepared to negotiate, and think of some minor points you could use for compromising. One of the rules should be that you have access to everything they do.
Set parental control
Services such as Net Nanny can help you limit the content your child is viewing and online activities they engage in. Every child is naturally curious so they may be tempted to click on certain things just to see what happens next or discover new things. Also, if it happens that they come across any graphic content on their, or a friend’s device, make sure they know there is always someone they can talk to. Warn them not to use or share any personal info other than their first name.
Does your 5-year old really need a smartphone? Schoolchildren might need them as, unfortunately, that is the way kids communicate today, and no one is going to call your landline. If you want to stay in control and limit access, you can get one of the outright unlocked phones available. Your children can share this phone and they can each have their own sim card to use when needed. Also, you can let your kids share a computer. There is no need for each one of them to have their own. They can simply use one in a communal area.
Create tech-free zones
Set technology-free zones in both time and space. There should be areas in your home where no electronics should be present. Also, you should set activities that involve zero-tech such as a family game night or meals. Also, determine the cut-off time for the use of technology in your home. This is the time when you could also switch off the Internet. Make sure your kids go to bed fully relaxed and fall asleep immediately.
Obey your own rules, your children will only respect them if you set an example first. Be aware of your children’s actions and stay in touch with the developments in tech, so nothing can escape your notice.
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