At this day and age, we all enjoy the benefits that technology has brought to us. It has transformed our lives, making it easier and more entertaining.
However, as parents, it’s also a matter of concern. The use of technology is not without its flaws. Most parents are worried about the effects it has on our children.
But fear not, there is no need to deprive you and your kids from this gift. The trick is to find the balance and make the best of what technology has to offer.
How Long and Why Should Screen Time Be Limited
The American Academy of Pediatricians has recommended allowing no screen time for children less than 2 years. And children from two to five years are recommended to have one to two hours of screen time. These limits are recommended for a variety of reasons which include:
- 🔵 Too much screen time in children has been known to cause sleeping irregularities, behavioral problems, poor academic performance, and other troubling issues.
- 🔵 If left unscreened, children may be exposed to violent or sexual content, and inappropriate food and beverage advertisement.
- 🔵 Screen time is mostly a solitary experience; hence it reduces the opportunity of children gaining active social skills through joint play sessions.
- 🔵 Screen time, whether on the TV or a handheld device, are sedentary activities. These limits the physically active playtime for children, something that is essential for bodies to develop and grow properly.
How to Optimize the Benefits of the Digital Age
As a parent, it is your responsibility to figure out what is the best approach for your family during this digital age. Here are a few points to consider helping you make an informed decision.
Allow Moderate Online Time
Being online and forming virtual relationships are all a part of a distinctive teenage mental growth. Social Media plays a very central role in teaching your kid about their own identity and about the world around them. It can also help them ascertain what role they can have in the grown-up world.
Teenagers do however need to be cautioned about what they are posting or sharing online. They need to realize that whatever they are posting is indefinitely a part of their digital footprint. Hence they must be vigilant of how they behave online.
Ensure to have Tech-Free Zones
Certain factors are essential for your kids overall emotional wellness. Hence you must ensure that to get proper sleep, healthier eating habits and adequate family time. Thus you can follow a few family rules that must be maintained.
Suggest removing all gadgets and tech devices during family meal times and other social gatherings. Keep electronic devices outside the bedroom, as they are known to cause poor sleep, obesity and growing depression amongst kids.
Make sure to charge your devices outside the bedroom, actively minimizing the temptation for your kids to use them while they should be sleeping.
Encourage More Face-to-Face Communication
Little children learn to communicate and develop understanding best by talking with a person and not some toy. This helps them grow strong language skills and develop logic.
This can be achieved by face-to-face conversations with a parent or even video chatting with a parent or grandparent far away. This goes a long way in enhancing the language skills in really small children.
Engage with them during Screen Time
It’s a great idea to join in with your kid as they are viewing something on the screen. Don’t just monitor what they are watching from a distance, rather join in with them. You can watch a TV show or a movie with them, or play a video game together.
You can incorporate your own life’s experiences and share your own perspectives, creating a strong bond through effective social interaction. This will also help you be a part of their world and understand them better.
Know Your Child’s Online Behavior
It’s imperative that you are aware of what your kid is doing in their virtual world. Make an effort to know about whom their friends are, keep a tab of what social platforms and sites they are most frequent on and what apps and software they use using in their devices.
Staying informed doesn’t mean being intrusive to their privacy. That might cause friction between your relationship. Befriend them in such a way so that they feel comfortable to share this information willingly with you. This will benefit you to help and comfort them in any adverse situation.
Restrict Screen Time to Allow Outdoor Playtime
It’s important to enable and encourage very young kids to have daily unstructured and offline play activities. This enhances their creativity and helps keep them in good physical shape. So, restrict the use of digital devices to a particular amount of time daily so they can indulge in more outdoor play activities.
Be the Role Model They Need
Young children are most likely to mimic everything they see in grownups. So limit screen time yourself when you are around them. Instead be more available to them by hugging, playing and interacting with them, rather than just staring at a screen.
Make yourself available to them by showing that it’s more fun to have meaningful conversations and play time with you rather than spending time with a digital device.
Technology is increasingly growing and rapidly changing lives all around the world. As a concerned and aware parent, it is your responsibility to teach your children the importance of maintaining a healthy technology usage during this sensitive period of their lives.
You must teach them in detail the importance of cyber safety and also stress the appropriate and inappropriate uses of technology.
Befriend them and make them understand the concept of family bonding and the importance of playing and spending time outdoors.
That way they will grow up to be more positive minded and make the most and best use of technology.Author Bio: Shawn is a content writer at FeedFond. He’s a doting father not only to his two children but also to his two Golden Retrievers. Check out more of his articles at FeedFond.com.