Are you finding it difficult to cope with the use of technology in the lives of your “tech savvy” kids? We know the struggle is real. Your kids get addicted, you get frustrated and the cycle goes on.
While it’s true that the blessings of technology are undeniable, it’s also true that social behavior these days is defined by how we function through technology and not by the way we interact with people in real life.
Kids should engage more in playful, interactive and mentally stimulating activities in the early stages of their lives instead of spending hours surfing the internet or watching television.
Increased exposure to technology might hamper your kid’s cognitive development. So how do you manage this? We’ll share eight tips to keep in your mind for parenting your tech-savvy kids so you can limit the negatives and focus on the positives.
Can you Allow your Kids to be Completely Tech-Savvy?
It’s simply not possible (or advisable) to completely ban your child from technology altogether. But, if you can make sure that your kids are being exposed to the appropriate content and gadgets, then things become a lot easier for you.
The Internet is one of the most excellent tools for learning, but like other technological developments, you cannot overlook its risks. Children are biologically inquisitive.
They often develop a passion for venturing online and using social media so wise parents must empower their kids to do this safely.
#1. Set Rules and Specific Times
If your child is under the age of five, you should limit the time they spend watching television or using any other gadget to two hours a day or less. For children under two years old, they should not be watching television time at all – according to pediatricians. Make sure that the time your kids spend watching television is productive and educational and not just for entertainment.
Due to technological advancements, you can now customize the channels your child is going to watch or the websites they’re allowed to surf. So, be very precise and careful when you select these.
Be aware that not all websites post an industry rating that can be identified by blockers or filters. Hence, it’s best for you to talk to your child and teach them how to avoid inappropriate content themselves.
#2. Use Tracking Software
If you have older kids who are addicted to technology, you can start using tracking software. This software enables you to see which websites your children have visited as well as track their online activities. Your kids can enjoy the freedom of surfing the internet, and at the same time, you can keep your eyes on them from time to time.
#3. Discuss the Pros and Cons of Technology
No matter how well behaved your kids are using technology, it’s always best to discuss its usage and impacts with them. Though they are only kids, it’s wise to involve them in technical discussions early on to promote a healthy and realistic outlook towards technology.
Not only will doing this fulfill your child’s curiosity, but it will also create a sense of responsibility. By treating them as adults, the onus is on them to act in an appropriate manner.
It’s also important to make sure you keep the lines of communication open with your kids for another reason – so they know, without a doubt, that you’re a trusted person to go to and will have their back if something unanticipated happens, such as cyberbullying.
#4. Exposure to the Outside World
Encourage your children to take part in technological conferences under your supervision. This way, your kids will have the chance to listen to new ideas and be encouraged to share their own thoughts and ideas with people.
Allow your kids to engage in social interactions more. Encourage them to play outside with friends; try spending quality time them.
If you, as a parent, spend lots of time on your phone or laptop and ignoring your children, it’s likely that they’ll take up your habits and do the same thing.
So, make sure that you spend lots of quality time with your kids, playing outside and reading books or bedtime stories. It’ll keep their brains occupied in learning new things and it will teach them the value of family time.
#5. Explore Technology with your Kids
Learn new things together. There’s always room to discover new things with the help of your children, and that’s fun too. Explore new devices and the Internet along with your kids to understand how they use technology.
#6. Participation in School
The education system is becoming more and more technology-based every day. The introduction of technology at school has made the act of learning and knowledge-delivering a more interactive experience. Children should adopt the use of technology in a positive way to learn new things and grow their knowledge on various topics.
#7. Limit your Kid’s Online Profile and Teach them Polite Communication
Observe who is able to see your child’s online profile on social media. You can always adjust the privacy settings if you feel as though it is unsafe. Teach your kids the importance of these settings and the risks of connecting with strangers online.
#8. Don’t Restrict them Too Much
Not all technology is dangerous, and you don’t have to be burdened by trying to restrict technology completely if that doesn’t seem reasonable to you.
While the need to limit inappropriate content is obvious, as long as you are responsible in setting limits, making sure you’re involved as much as possible, and making time for one-on-one interactions with your children, you shouldn’t really need to worry.
The bottom line is you should know that nothing can trump your involvement and supervision in your little one’s life. You need to keep monitoring how your kids use media and technology on a regular basis and at the same time give them the freedom to explore.
Always keep the lines of conversation open so they feel they can speak to you about anything they’re not sure or concerned about. That’s how you’ll safely raise your tech-savvy kids and minimize the risks of using technology and spending time online.