In today’s world, technology is everywhere. Now, this isn’t to say technology is a bad thing, but there is a limit. “How much time is too much time in the digital world?” is the question most parents will ask at some point. Ultimately, it’s up to the parent to decide that and help their kids stay away from too much time with their digital devices. However, this isn’t easy to do. Often times, children will resist or get upset if you try to take away their technology, so how do we get them away from their screens?
Ask yourself, “How often am I using my digital devices?” You don’t want to be a hypocrite in your children’s eyes. Children will follow their parent’s actions. “Do as I say, not as I do,” is not going to cut it here. Lead by example and start limiting your own technology use, especially in front of your children. The less you’re using your digital device, the less likely your children will use theirs.
It’s difficult to just tell your children, “hey go play outside.” What do you expect them to do really? Times are different and it’s important to understand this. It’s also important to understand your own involvement with your children is detrimental to helping them stay off their digital devices. Don’t just tell your children to go play outside, go outside with them. Play catch, hide and seek, tag, etc. Show your kids how to have fun away from technology. By being involved, you’re not only giving your kids an actively involved and loving parent, you’re giving them a friend to do things with.
Set limits to how much time they can spend on their digital devices and when and where they can use them. The trick is to make this an emphasis early on, as it will only get harder to set these limits and restrictions as they get more used to using their digital devices. Don’t be unreasonable either. Limiting too much can hurt a child’s social life, as many of us communicate over the phone, through text messages, or other online social channels. There is a healthy limitation to put on it. You can try things like:
- No phones during meals
- No technology an hour before bed
- No technology during family activities (unless it’s a planned movie night or similar activities)
Use it for educaiton
Odds are no matter how much we try to help our children stay away from too much screen time, they’re still going to find ways to access it. So what’s an alternative? Use it to benefit them. There are millions of ways to use the internet to help educate your children. YouTube can be extremely beneficial in helping your children find hobbies or educate themselves on trades that interest them. You can learn how to play instruments, how to draw, how to fix things, and so on. The list could go on forever. There are even more in-depth education resources available online too (some free, some require payment). Check out this list of places to visit online to use as education resources (for both kids and adults):