The rise of technology and the internet has fundamentally changed the manner in which humans live. We are now all more connected than ever before and the digital landscape is an ever-changing realm with enormous potential to help humanity as a whole. With technology more widely available than ever before, children are encountering the digital landscape at younger ages than ever before. Whether this serves to aid or handicap our children yet remains to be seen.
However, as responsible parents, we should be doing all we can to make sure that technology’s influence on our children is as positive as possible. Like with anything in life, moderation is a healthy approach and regardless of the great benefits technology provides to our lives, we should be careful not to allow it to influence our children too much for their own good. In today’s article, we are going to discuss a few appropriate times to limit technology and the ways that it can be done. Developing a child’s healthy relationship technology is an extremely difficult task.
An indication that technology has too great an influence on your child’s life is when you can observe a significant effect that technology may be having. For instance, finding that your child is using a cell phone at midnight when they should instead be asleep. The child is sacrificing a normally functioning life for more time with technology. In general, if you observe negative symptoms and behaviors such as grades falling, lack of motivation to leave the house, or isolating to spend more time online, then it should be clear that technology is taking too much of your child’s time.
At this point, a direct intervention may be necessary to limit the child’s time with technology. However, we definitely do not recommend simply expecting a child to quit technology cold turkey. A systematic approach where you limit technology and fill the now empty time with other activities is recommended. If your child is stuck in front of a computer all day, consider signing them up for a class of some sort to socialize and live away from the internet. What’s important in this process is that you as the parent commit to and stick to these times. Establish clear ground rules and stick with them.
Another danger that technology presents is the rise of inherent connectivity. For children, this can be great since they now have more resources to grow and learn than ever before. However, this comes at a price since the internet can be a dangerous place and there is a lot of content on the net that is not appropriate for young eyes to see. As responsible parents then, it is important to make sure that we control what our child sees and when. Thankfully there exist a large number of tools specifically designed to help parents do just that.
The Google Play Store and Apple Store both have applications that allow a parent to remotely control their child’s access to certain features on their phones such as internet connectivity, individual apps, and even phone lock and unlock times. Besides using technology to limit technology, there are analog ways to help control the content that your child sees when online. A tried and tested method is to set up your child’s computer in such a way that you can see their screen at all times. In this way, you can encourage a child to treat their online activity the same as their day to day physical activity. They shouldn’t be hiding behind masks of anonymity to do bad things to people. Keep your child’s internet usage open and be careful to step in at the right moment.
Now that you’re limiting and monitoring your child’s technology usage time, it’s time to consider the ways you can use technology to improve their lives. If your child is especially attached to technology and its use, then you can manipulate technology into a privilege that the child earns through offline behavior. For instance, completing chores around the house will grant an hour of internet use and such. If they’ve done particularly well in school, consider grabbing some excellent Samsung accessories for their smartphone. Instituting this kind of policy encourages the child to build a healthy balance of technology use in their lives.
Ultimately, your goal as a parent should be to limit the negative influence that technology has on your child. Summed up, the best way to do this is to implement a systematic limiting of exposure to technology that you can monitor and ultimately then use as a reward for good behavior. Even though technology can provide us and our children with wonderful opportunities, make sure to teach children to moderate their usage accordingly. If you can teach a child to moderate themselves, you’re successfully preparing them for the real world.