Top 6 Tips for Your Child’s Balanced & Healthy Use of Technology
Decisions about what to allow or how to limit children’s access to technology cannot be based upon past experiences. Parents cannot opt to manage this issue as their own parents did. And to complicate this issue further, technology continues to rapidly change with the development of better options and devices. Here are some tips that may be helpful in making decisions regarding children’s access to and use of technology:
Limit screen time:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under age 2 and very little screen time for older children. If parents truly want to limit their child’s screen time, it’s best to set clear boundaries before you hand over the iPad.
When there is a legitimate reason for children to have their own device, such as a cell phone, be sure to establish rules about its use. Set a family media policy that determines who can use different forms of technology–and when and where each is acceptable. Just last Christmas, a mother received a great deal of media attention for the iPhone “contract” she entered into with her son. However informal your agreement is with your child, be sure that your expectations are clear, and then stick to them!
For older children, social media may be an issue. You should have the passwords to their e-mail and Facebook accounts, if they have them, and you should check in periodically. Explain that this is for your child’s safety, and not an invasion of the child’sr privacy. Remind children that the use of technology is a privilege, not a right.
Never underestimate the power of watching television or playing on the computer with your child. Screen time in moderation, and with the added bonus of a parent engaging in conversation, can be a good thing.
Establish times in your home when technology is not in use and when all devices are “unplugged.” Use this time to join in activities and conversations with each other.
Encourage your children to stay physically active, enjoy reading and participate in creative activities. Help children learn to relax and have fun without the use of technology.