Nowadays, it is a familiar sight in a majority of the families – Kids bent over a screen for hours and lost in a digital world. Be it Pokemon or PUBG, there is no argument to the point that technology addiction is taking a toll on kids.
It can be a boon that electronics can keep the kids engaged and in one place. But too much time spent on it leads to screen addiction which can turn out to be dangerous for them.
Remember, there is a lot of difference between reliance on technology and addiction to it. The moment you notice disturbing patterns of long hours spent on the TV, laptops or Smartphone’s, you need to be alert. The sooner you address this issue, the better the outcomes will be.
You can use the below tips to reform your kids’ technology habits.
- Set Rules For Digital Curfew
You should establish technology-free zones in your house. This entails setting fixed rules and regulations for digital curfew. In periods such as evening meals or bedtime, no gadget will be allowed.
One interesting thing to note here – as a parent, you should also honour these rules as much as your kid, to get maximum response from them.
2. Replace Screen Time with Other Enjoyable Activities
You can replace screen time with some fun activities such as drawing, reading, signing, and playing instruments. Other feasible kid-friendly activities include indoor-outdoor games, physical activities, or playing brain teasers.
You should never use technology as a babysitter. Kids are more likely to benefit from short screen time when their parents sit with them and discuss with them about the shows or online content they are watching.
3. Set Some Boundaries
It might happen that earlier, there were no boundaries set on-screen time. But if a household has a kid addicted to devices, then it is prudent to set controls on the amount of time a kid can access the device.
There must be clear boundaries set on the amount of time spent a day on a TV, computer, and laptop. Never allow them to watch TV and online content, or play games on a computer for more than 60 minutes at a time.
4) Kid-Proof Your Browser
Technology devices can work as a homework assistant or a boredom killer. Of course, as a parent, you can welcome its utility value in your kids’ life. But there should be some control parameters to moderate its usage. Without such controls, technology is like an awful guest who overstays his/her welcome, while consuming all the drinks and snacks stored in a fridge.
You can incorporate a robust Wi-Fi router with parental control system in your home and protect your kids from watching adult content on TV and online. These days a majority of browsers such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox offer you parental controls from within their windows. You can easily set up security safeguards and content filters there as well.
5 Educate Kids About the Risk Associated With Too Much Screen Time
You should make your child understand that watching too much TV or playing games on a computer is not healthy. Explain to them how violent video games, movies, and images can be dangerous to kids. Also, talk about the prospective risks of online predators.
6. Make a Hierarchy of Priorities
You can make a hierarchy of priorities that need to be carried out. You can set rules for what must be done before they can have screen time, like finishing homework, cleaning, preparing for school, and participating in family time. Work slowly on reducing their screen time rather than completely eliminating them.
7. Educate Yourself on Electronic Gadgets and Latest Technology
Today’s kids live in a digital and social media-energized world. They know more about electronics than adults do. That’s why it is needed that you stay up-to-date on the latest cell phone apps or the most recent social media craze. It’s a fact that you can’t teach your child the disadvantages of social media unless you understand the risks itself. So, first, try to educate yourself.
8. No Screen in Bedroom
A modern-day screen emits blue light lights that can impair the brain into becoming more active. When the kids use them just before bedtime, this issue can delay normal sleep and affect the kids’ sleep patterns.
You should power off your kids’ gadgets an hour before bedtime otherwise it will be dangerous for their mental, physical, and social wellbeing. Kids who use mobile phones, TV, computer or any screen within an hour of bedtime can experience jetlag-like symptoms. It makes it harder for them to fall asleep, stay asleep and wake refreshed in the morning.
9. Link with the Real World
Kids don’t see the digital world as a tantalizing option to the real world when parents draw links between what they watch and everyday life. You can use colours on the screen to point to real-life objects.
For example, while folding laundry you can ask them about the colour of each item of clothing. It can remind them that the same colours exist and can be enjoyed more in reality.
A Parting Thought
In a nutshell, moderate use of digital technology tends to be advantageous for children’s mental well-being, while no use or too much use can have a negative impact. You can implement some of these ideas to reduce your child’s screen time without them even noticing.