“We want children to feel confident, excited, and eager to play, explore, and learn as thy interact with technology”. – Anon

 

With technology that is almost everywhere, it is not uncommon for you as parents to provide opportunities for children to use devices. However, the next challenge is to limit the child’s time to use this device.

Since the early age of children, which is 2 years old, they have received several benefits from using devices, for example learning music, movements, and stories through certain applications or websites. Using real devices helps children understand what they see and apply it in real life.

However, excessive use of the device can bring a lot of problems. Anything that extravagant is not good. Using devices excessively have some negative effects on children, such as:

  • Tendency to be obese
  • Irregular sleep schedule and shorter sleep duration
  • Behavioral problems
  • Reduced social skills
  • Tend to be exposed to negative things from the internet such as violence, promiscuity, etc.

You can allow children to use devices if you as parents continue to monitor them, especially if they are still at an early age. Keep track of children’s activities using gadgets and use this time for children to learn about the world.

There are five strategies you can take to help you limit and control the use of children’s devices.

  1. Be an Example for Your Children

Parents should be children’s role models in using technology. Before you watch your favorite TV series in excess or when you open social media, remember that you are setting an example for children with the time you spend in front of the screen.

Therefore, it is important for you to show your child that you also limit the use of gadgets or watching TV excessively.

  1. Educating Yourself about the Use of Technology

Today’s children are capable to use technology easily. Most of them know more about electronics than adults. Parents should always keep updated on the latest developments in apps, games, and social media, as well as the latest trends.

You must be aware of all technological developments to teach your child about the risks of using them. For example, you should first learn about social media before you tell your child directly what the dangers are. So, you have studied and experienced it first.

You will not be able to prevent children from using certain types of media (such as violent video games) if you do not understand how these forms of media are being introduced in society.

  1. Set a Schedule

You can set a certain daily duration and time when children can play on gadgets such as cellphones, laptops, or TVs for entertainment. This would fit perfectly and have a big impact on younger children. They can learn about the routine from the schedule of using the gadget.

However, the above system will become more complicated as children get older due to activities outside their home and school homework which make it difficult to manage their scheduled time. In this case, you could try to use a token system. Give certain amounts of tokens to your children a day in using the gadget. Set the time that they can spend on gadgets for every token, such as 30 minutes for each.

By doing a token system, children would be wise to use it for important things. If they have any tokens left, they can use them for entertainment. For the number of tokens and the duration of time, you can determine it based on your children’s needs and some consideration. Also, try to have discussions with your child about it. Especially if your child is on their pre-teen or teenager ages.

The key to successfully doing the two things above is consistency. As children get older, they will definitely look for reasons to not do it. When you create an opportunity for them in seeing the mistake in the system with your inconsistencies, you are making the system weak every day.

  1. Create a ‘Technology-Free Zone’ at Home

Establish a zone in your home that prohibits the use of all types of electronic devices. You can apply this for example in the dining room or family room in your home. Use this technology-free space for meals and activities with your family.

This implementation will make children also value their time with family and learn to use technology-related devices with mutually determined and agreed limits.

  1. Prepare Fun Non-Tech Options for Entertainment

Explore other media or tools that you can use to reduce children’s playing time with gadgets. For example, preparing an interesting traditional game, such as jumping rope. Teach your children how to play and get involved in their play.

For older children, you can provide more useful activities, such as drawing/ painting, learning a musical instrument, exercising, reading books, or other activities that can develop children’s skills but still make them enjoy time without gadgets.

Instead of trying your hard to eliminate current technology from children’s lives, you can come up with new, concrete, and interesting alternatives, so that your child can eventually escape the excessive influence of technology.

 

May 10, 2021

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