Nowadays there are many types of excessive behaviors identified as addictions today. One of the most powerful of these addictions is to technology, and this addiction is dominating the lives of many children in our country.
Parents often find that helping a child that is addicted to one or more tech devices is difficult because these devices play such an integral part of daily life. Abstinence is not a realistic option so the question becomes what can a parent do allow for the productive use of tech devices without allowing their children to develop a tech addiction?
The following seven tips should help parents that wish the limit the screen time experienced by their children.
It should be understood by all in the home that tech devices are not allowed in certain areas or at certain times. One good example is to make it against the rules to access these devices during mealtimes. There could also be certain areas of the house that could include bedrooms at night or family gathering places in the daytime where phones, laptops, and tablets are prohibited.
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Perhaps the simplest way to impose tech-free zones in the home is the turn off Wi-Fi services at certain times of the day. Another idea is to limit the data that is accessible through phone data plans. This could be risky however as overages can get pretty expensive if a child in the family is not conscious that their authorized data usage is finished for the month.
Parental controls allow parents the option to cut Wi-Fi for selected devices whether they are present in the home or at another location.
Make Screen Time Productive
The fact is children are going to spend time with their favorite devices. One way for parents can cause this time spent in front of screens more productive is to encourage activities that combine the use of these devices with the improvement of educational skill or increased family engagement.
Family Activity Planning
What better way to limit screen time for children than to plan fun family activities that allow for zero time with tech devices. Getting together and having a planning meeting is a great way to collaborate with children, so they are doing activities that they are interested in.
Fresh air fun can be the perfect antidote for a developing tech addiction. Hiking, swimming, bowling, and many other options for family fun exist that also serve to separate children from tech devices. You could also plan vacations together as a family. While on vacation, put a ban on all technology and device usage. That way you can get some quality bonding time. They will also have better attitudes about it if they helped decide on the activity.
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Lose The Phone
Trips taken by the family that are under an hour can easily be completed while leaving cell phones at home. Also, activities that require wait times such as standing in line at a grocery store or waiting for food at a restaurant should be done without the aid of mobile devices.
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Activities Before Devices
It could be a good idea to make a list of activities that children must complete daily before watching television, playing video games, or accessing a computer or mobile device. The requirements can be that all school work and chores must be done first and then this can be followed by a required recreational activity.
Only then will it become allowable to turn on devices. Many times the child will find he or she is too tired to do so.
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Turn Off Notifications
The best efforts at fighting the temptation to overindulge a tech device can instantly be made irrelevant due to the beep, buzz, or ring associated with an assortment of notifications.
Notifications can be especially irresistible to children and turning these notifications off can be a great aid to the overall goal to limit screen time. This can be done either inside the app that is sending the notifications, or the phone settings can be adjusted so that no notifications can be received from any apps.
Why Is It Important?
Technology, while helping more and more people connect that couldn’t connect before, can be a force in the rising occurrence of mental illness in young adults. Depression is prevalent among teens today, according to the Recovery Village. Teenagers are the age group most affected by mental health problems. Social media and other types of technology aren’t helping that either. Many people can feel lonelier, pressured, or inadequate in the wake of social media. That’s why it’s critical that parents are aware of what goes on in their child’s digital life.
Related: A Depressing Trend: Mental Illness Among Teens on the Rise | https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/
The availability of technology today is a tool that is useful to individuals in too many ways to list. But like with most things, moderation is key. This is especially so in the case of children, who can easily become so attentive to tech devices that other aspects of their lives are neglected.
There is an entire world for children to enjoy and their lives should not be spent in front of a computer or phone screen. The seven tips listed above will prove extremely helpful for parents seeking to limit screen time for their children.
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