With ever-changing technology and the instant-access online world we live in today, it can be a challenge raising kids. While giving your child a screen all the time might keep them quiet and “out of your hair”, it can also be detrimental to their development and to their health. There are healthy ways to give your kids access to technology without hurting their growth or depriving them.
Here are 10 rules for screen time that will teach your kids to appreciate technology and to be safe online.
Before you set any screen time rules for your kids, make sure you follow them first. Giving your kids boundaries with screens will only cause problems in their development if you don’t abide by those same boundaries. Remember, kids learn more from what you do than from what you say.
Technology changes fast, and your kids will likely be more aware of the newest social media craze or online trend before you will. Stay up to date on what the kids are in to and the newest technology. If it’s a popular app “all the kids are using” then learn about it and how it works. Check into the safety and accessibility of the apps and talk to your kids often about what they’re into.
Set some boundaries within your home for your kids to put down their screens. The dining room, for example, is a great place to encourage no screens so you can connect person-to-person better. The bathroom is another area where kids can get lost behind a screen. Choose a few areas within your home and life where screens are not allowed.
In addition to creating technology-free zones, create screen-free times as well. Dinner is a great time for this as well as an hour or so before bedtime. Make time for the whole family to spend time together playing a game or just talking. It might be good to make mornings a screen-free time as well. Remember, you as a parent are setting the example so help facilitate this time by talking with your kids and simply making eye contact with them.
Even with the best rules and intentions in place, the internet can be an unpredictable landscape. When possible, use parental controls on tablets, phones, and TV’s to protect your kids from explicit or disturbing content. Remember to model this behavior yourself as well.
As with any parenting advice, the most important thing is to be open and honest with your kids. Explain to them your reasoning behind the screen-time rules and the possible dangers of spending too much time behind a screen. Let them know what to stay away from online and why. Communicate openly and often with your kids and always do it with love and understanding.
If your kids are old enough and use social media or any apps or websites that require you to log in, then make sure you know their passwords. It is also important to establish rules about which social media services they can use and how they are to behave on these accounts. Let them know that you trust them, but that you also will check in to see if they are making good choices for themselves.
Clearly establish that screen-time is a privilege and not a right. As you set boundaries and rules for using devices, you must also clearly establish consequences. Encourage your kids to make good choices for themselves and show them that, if they can’t, then you will need to make the choices for them. On the other hand, don’t make extra screen time a reward for good behavior. Maintain the boundaries you’ve set on screen time.
It’s shocking how many kids are struggling with sleep because of access to screens late at night. Make the bedroom a screen-free zone at all times. This includes a TV, video game systems, tablets, or phones. When they are old enough to have their own phone, set rules on when they must be off each night.
Technology can easily condition children by providing constant, immediate entertainment and make them dependent on technology for meeting those needs. That’s why it’s so important to encourage your children to do other activities, like playing outside, playing music, reading, or playing board games. Most importantly, do some of these non-screen activities with your kids regularly.
Speaking of screens, if you have a cracked or broken screen, it can make screen time a stressful and frustrating experience. At Houston iPhone Screen Repair, we can fix any cracked or broken screen and get your device working as good as new the same day. Come by and see us or just give us a call for a quote.