Five Parenting Tips for the Digital Age
Top Tech Parenting Tips
Parenting has never been easy, but with all of the technology vying for kids’ attention these days, the job is more challenging than ever.
How do you make sure that your kids use these shiny new devices for good and educational purposes?
How long should they be allowed to use them?
And when should they simply put them away and be a part of the real world?
Parents want to instil good habits in their children, and as many paediatricians will tell you, technology is not a babysitter or a replacement for quality time between Mums and Dads and their kids. Fortunately, there are several things parents can do to make the presence of technology in their home less stressful.
Parents will want to protect devices physically and kids emotionally. For the former, keeping durable cases on devices can prevent them from being destroyed during inevitable accidents. Establishing rules for their use (such as no drinks near the smart phone) are also helpful. For the latter, turn on safe search for both Google search and YouTube so that kids don’t inadvertently see anything that’s not age appropriate.
It may be easier to keep all restrictions for your smart phone or tablet in the off position, but if your device gets into the hands of your curious kids, they might do something you don’t like. Enable restrictions to lock certain apps and to prevent apps from being deleted with just a tap. It’s also a good idea to turn off in-app purchases, the charges from which can add up quickly before you realise what’s going on.
3. Wifi and Chargers
If you’re a parent of older children, staying in control of the household wifi password and the charging cables means that kids can’t escape into their devices instead of doing homework or chores. After all, they can’t get online without wifi, and they can’t keep their batteries charged without the right cable.
4. Time And Place
Even though many adults struggle with using devices at inappropriate times, it’s important to not only model proper technology usage, but to explain when it’s best to put the gadgets away and engage in real life. This is especially true if you’ve got older kids, who often prefer to bury their heads in a smart phone instead of socialising.
Parents of younger children should set rules for usage. Most parents try to limit screen time for younger kids to an hour or less per day. Each family is different, though, and you’ll need to figure out what works for yours, but it’s essential to be clear about the rules and be consistent in enforcing them.
5. Good Uses
Technology, when used properly, is a phenomenal educational tool. Kids’ websites and apps can be used for teaching everything from academic subjects for school enrichment to art history and music. If you’ve got an iPad or other tablet, there are loads of free children’s books on Amazon for Kindle, and many libraries have ebook collections from which patrons can borrow. There’s nothing wrong with kids using technology for fun and entertainment, but it can also be used for all sorts of educational purposes.
Feature image courtesy of Lucélia Ribeiro