In recent decades, technology use has increased as a variety of screens have become smaller and more available to the masses. As parents, many of us wonder how this will affect our children both positively and negatively. While technology can support us in our everyday lives, it can also be a distraction- not only to us as adults but also to our children. Here are some simple yet effective things that can help you and your family create a healthy relationship with screen time.
Create “Tech-Free Zones” in Your Home
Designate certain areas in your home as a “tech-free” space. Consider gathering areas such as the kitchen, living room, or dining room to be used for family time and not for screen time.
Set Aside a Time to “unplug” the Screen and Plug Into Other Things
If setting aside a tech-free zone is not possible in your living space then consider setting a time each evening to “unplug” and put away all screens. Consider using this time to read a book, play a board game, or just chat about your day. This could also be a great time to involve the entire family in a project or simply completing some daily chores all together- get creative and you will soon find this time is something that is looked forward to every day.
Keep Screens Out of Your Child’s Bedroom
When screen time is allowed in a child’s bedroom it can create too much privacy for your child and can give way to even bigger problems. Consider limiting access to screens to only large family gathering areas such as the living room or playroom. If children do use their electronic devices in their bedrooms having the door open at all times will help too.
Passwords and Parent Controls…Yes Please!!!!
It is always a good idea for parents to be mindful of what their children are listening to, watching, looking at, and who they are talking to. Talk to your children about your expectations and what is allowed and what is not permitted. There are now many applications that limit screen time and block certain content so you are more in control. Passwords should be shared with you and children should know that you are here to protect them- that includes monitoring social media and phone usage.
In a world where technology is so integrated, these simple tips can help you be more in control of your child’s experiences. We know technology is not going away anytime soon, but you can create healthy boundaries with your children.