Itís Mommy Monday and todayís post is going to talk about one of the most important things for technology-based families: monitoring. With technology being a dominating factor in todayís homes, itís hard sometimes to detach children from iPad, iPhones and computers. It was probably the same in the past, only with television and even the radio. Although technology has many advantages, such as various apps on an iPad that can be educational and fun, children can become addicted to it, spending hours at a time on the machinery. By becoming addicted, there are chances that they will be incredibly dependent on technology. We canít avoid the ongoing technological growth, but we can try to prevent children from becoming too addicted to them.
Time: Limit your childrenís time each day to an hour to an hour and a half of technology. This will teach them that they canít use it too much, and will encourage them to try find fun in other resources. Itís understandable that going to another source of technology is instinctive, but also encourage reading, drawing, or playing with toys. If itís unavoidable to switch from iPads to TV, make sure that has a limitation as well. Also, try to let them use technology around the same time each day, or at least close to it. This will give them a sense of scheduling and they will eventually learn to manage themselves and their usage.
Usage: Donít give them the iPad or iPhone for every situation, like waiting for dinner to come at a restaurant. This will create a dependency on it and will limit social interaction as well. When youíre in a restaurant, waiting for your order, it is important to talk to your child, engage with them, and stay away from technology because itís time you have together. Sometimes, it might be tempting as a parent who is also waiting to take out their phone, just to check your social media, but try to avoid that as it will give your child the impression that using technology at all times is alright. There might be situations where giving them technology while waiting is fine Ė such as a long drive Ė but try to engage with your child first in conversation, word games, or playing with their toys first before moving on to technology.
Awareness: When your child is using technology, be more aware of what they are playing or watching. As they become older, they will come across content that seems harmless, but might contain language that isnít appropriate for their age. If your child is using an iPad or iPod, make sure they are in the room with you as they play so you can keep a close eye on them. If they are using a TV or computer in a separate room, visit them every so often and ask how theyíre doing and asking questions about the content. If you engage with them, they might share what they are doing as well. Make sure you also teach your children, if theyíre old enough, about the Internet and safety if they choose to use it!
Interactivity: When the family finds something fun to do, or you engage with them about the content, it can distract them from the technology. Make sure youíre there for your child and do other activities with them. Family is not only a good resource, but having other children to play and interact is great too as they continue to build up social skills face-to-face and wonít have to depend on technology for interaction all the time in the future.
Everyone spends time on technology, but children are especially susceptible to becoming addicted to it. Here are some tips to make sure they don’t become so dependent on them and maybe try these on yourself as well!