Helping Your Children Understand the Pros and Cons of Everyday Tech
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by Sarah Daren
In today’s world, digital technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives. People are spending hours every single day engaging with smartphones, computers, and tablets in various ways. While some of these uses are beneficial, it is beginning to seem like the world is slowly becoming addicted to digital technology as more people are addicted to smartphones than ever before.
While the digital divide has shown that a lack of access to technology can be detrimental, it’s becoming apparent that too much access to digital technology can be detrimental as well. As a parent, it can be difficult to raise a child in a world where this is the case.
Thankfully, there are ways that you can level with your children and help them understand both the pros and the cons of using technology every day.
Make It a Point to Have a Conversation
While many parents will say things such as “get off your phone” or “you spend too much time on the computer” to their children, many don’t have meaningful conversations with their children about technology. Children are largely unaware of the effects that digital technology is having on them, and this can cause them to engage in unhealthy behavior with their devices.
By setting your children down and having a serious conversation with them, they’ll be better able to understand what technology may be doing to them. While it’s not always bad for children to use technology, too much technology can have severely negative effects on them. If you don’t explain this to them, it’s more than likely that no one else will.
Limit Screen Time
Just like you wouldn’t let your children eat as much candy as they want, it’s important to limit the amount of screen time they have on their phones and computers. Some apps can perform this function automatically to ensure that they’re not utilizing technology more than they should be when you’re not around.
Though your children may be upset at first and it may cause some initial friction, limiting their screen time can help them develop the ability to find entertainment and contentment without digital devices. By limiting your children’s screen time, you’re helping them both become aware of their dependence on technology while also imparting them with important and practical skills.
Set a Good Example
While it may be easy to tell your children to not use technology so much, it might be a little harder to do it yourself. In order to set a good example and show your children that you’re serious, you must put away digital devices and show them that it’s possible. Telling your children not to use digital technology while you yourself are overusing digital devices is like a smoker telling their children not to smoke.
The more normal you make it in your household to not use digital technology, the easier it will be for your children to cut down on screen time. As such, it’s important to put your money where your mouth is and make sure that you’re showing your children that not overusing digital technology is possible.
Make Family Activities a Priority
Making a concerted effort to do family activities that don’t involve digital technology can have a significantly beneficial effect on your children. The more they look forward to these family activities, the easier it will be for them to take breaks from digital technology.
For example, you can schedule a bike ride for the whole family once or twice a week in which everyone leaves their phone at home. This way children have a fun activity to look forward to while also becoming comfortable being away from their digital devices for extended periods of time.
Schedule Times When Your Children Are Allowed to Use Social Media
Browsing through social media can be an addictive activity that follows you throughout your entire day. For children, who are even more susceptible to activities such as this, this can be a dangerous pastime that could easily lead to smartphone addiction. As such, it can be incredibly beneficial to schedule certain times when your children are allowed to use social media so they don’t develop bad digital habits or addictions.
Some apps can help you block various apps at certain times. Making sure that you have these activated on your children’s digital devices can help ensure that your children are being mindful of how much time they spend on social media.
Don’t Let Technology Control Your Children
Digital technology can be an amazing tool when used correctly. However, when digital technology is overused, it can become addictive and have a number of negative effects. This being the case, it’s important not to let digital technology take control of your children’s lives.
Take the proper precautions and help your children develop a healthy relationship with technology.
*This article is based on personal suggestions and/or experiences and is for informational purposes only. This should not be used as professional advice. Please consult a professional where applicable.