Kids today can easily play with smartphones and tablets and learn new things by watching videos and playing games. However, screen time should be limited as it can also affect a child’s mental wellbeing and behavior.
If children are not properly guided on using technology, they can develop social isolation, experience delays in mental development, and impact their eyesight. Children have a higher risk of having irreversible eye damage caused by light emissions from digital devices.
So, how can parents create a healthy relationship between children and technology? Here’s a guide to help you limit screen time and gradually use tech for education and playtime. With proper guidelines, parents can enforce a much better use of technology.
Considered digital heroin for kids, technology addiction is a real thing. Some children exhibit screen dependence and lose touch with the outside world. By watching entertaining videos on YouTube and playing games, children can build a tolerance for up to three to five hours.
If children aren’t controlled, they can suffer a loss of interest in other activities such as reading books, studying, and socializing with other people. These days, when tablets, iPads, and smartphones are taken away, some children experience a huge meltdown, which is a sign of digital addiction.
Most parents aren’t aware that their children already develop digital addiction. However, there are signs that easily indicate this phenomenon. Here are some of the signs to watch out for.
When the tablet or smartphone is taken away, it is normal for kids to cry or exhibit a tantrum. However, when they are feeling anxious, angry, and have a huge meltdown for more than 15 minutes, you know there’s something wrong. The key is to not give in and to instead control their usage.
Low Attention Span
By being exposed to a lot of screen time, some kids develop a low attention span. When they see something entertaining, they easily lose focus and struggle to complete activities.
Lying About Tech Use
To avoid parents taking away their gadgets, some kids sneak an iPad into their room or lie about their iPad usage. This is a common sign of digital addiction, and parents need to take action when this happens.
Tips to Create a Healthy Relationship Between Children and Technology
Create a Tech-Free Zone
One way of limiting a child’s screen time is to establish some rules in the house. For instance, create tech-free zones, such as bedrooms, dining areas, and the kitchen. This way, kids can understand the concept of control and avoid using gadgets in certain areas.
Part of setting rules is establishing screen time, and the exact time allowed to use technology. Start by allowing your kids to use their tablet or iPad for only 45 minutes a day, and then take the gadget away from them.
Turn Wi-Fi Off
Without an Internet connection, children cannot access videos on YouTube or play certain games that require data. So, make sure to unplug the Wi-Fi at home and let them do other things such as studying or playing outdoors.
Plan Tech-Free Family Activities
Part of managing a child’s screen time is providing engaging, fun, and interactive family activities.
Some children long to change their routine, and experience the fun outside their homes. As a parent, you can introduce kids to other activities like swimming, hiking, dance, and other sports events.
Try to participate in the activities too. This serves as family bonding time and strengthens mutual respect.
Pay Attention to Your Child
Finally, it is important to pay attention to your kids instead of leaving them all alone with a gadget. Don’t let a day end without interacting with them and asking about their day.
For toddlers, make sure to engage them with other toys that they can play with.
Creating a healthy relationship between children and technology is manageable, as long as parents take the time and energy to monitor their kids.
By setting an example, engaging with kids, and introducing other activities, parents can easily limit their child’s screen time.