Like it or not, our world has changed especially in the realm of digital technology and our kids are the pioneers of this new adventure. Technology guidelines are becoming more and more important. I have had parents ask if they are “bad parents” for letting their kids have screen time and I am here to tell you that:
You most certainly are not a bad parent!
Like most everything, moderation is the key to having success in building children’s much needed strength in digital technology while still keeping them involved in school, making friends, finding a talent and being an active part of the family.
Here are some easy to follow technology guidelines for families:
- Have family discussions about screen time and internet safety
- Limit screen time. Set a limit before your kids plug in and stick to it!
- Create rules about technology usage. Technology is a large part of how kids now socialize but they still need our help to develop the skills to think before acting. Here is a great contract to use with older kids.
- Be the example. Your kids will notice if you don’t walk the walk. Be aware of your own technology use and find balance in your own usage and family engagement.
- Have technology free zones. Two examples of having technology free zones are at meal times and bedtime. Direct your child towards content that engages them while using as many senses as possible.
- Approve the Apps! In 2014 there were 1.3 million apps in the Apple app store. Help your child choose apps that promote learning and create mindfulness rather than mindless play. There are tons of reviews for guidance on age appropriate/suitable content to find online! It is okay to make an unpopular decision about an app or video!
- Most importantly, be involved! Talk to your kids about internet safety, the family rules about technology and which apps they are choosing. Talk to your kids about what they are playing! Ask them to show you their latest creation or how they beat a level in their favorite game. The more your child feels comfortable talking with you about their technology usage the more you will know and hopefully there will be more communication and less fighting!
More Technology Guidelines Tips for Preschool Aged Children:
- Create limits on usage and be consistent!
- Play games and or watch together! Make sure to ask questions and have conversations about content. There are great learning and discussion opportunities to be had.
More Technology Guidelines Tips for Elementary Aged Children:
- Kids this age are more able to download and access more, making it more difficult for parents and increasing the need for limits and increased discussion about content and meaning.
- Filter sites and internet content, such as YouTube, using age appropriate guidelines.
- Remember those limits that are set and stick to them.
- Model limited use
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!