Technology is as much a part of life as eating and sleeping these days. No matter how hard you try, avoiding it is almost impossible. Younger and younger, kids are being introduced to the concept of the iPad or the smartphone, whether for education purposes or for recreation. And while there’s definitely nothing wrong with this, it does make teaching your children how to use technology in a responsible way all the more important.
Whether its using social media properly or learning to limit their tech usage altogether, these five simple tips will do wonders for helping you help your kids.
1. Be Reasonable
As mentioned earlier, it’s almost impossible to keep your children completely away from technology. There will come a time when they’ll need to use a computer for or at school, require a cell phone for safety reasons, or even start sneaking around to use it if you attempt to shield them completely. In this case, resistance really is futile. Start early, allow your kids to watch one or two of their favorite tv shows on the tablet or even play a game or two on your phone. Teach them that technology is not a thing to be feared or avoided but rather a tool that they must use wisely to get through life.
2. Demonstrate The Positives And Negatives Of Technology
Kids are naturally inquisitive creatures. Constantly demonizing technology could make them extremely curious about it the same way that non-nuanced discussions about its positives can have harmful effects on the way they view it. Find a happy medium that balances between helping them understand the ways that technology can benefit and improve their lives while also stressing that, when used incorrectly and irresponsibly, can be seriously harmful.
3. Set Screen Time Limits
Screen time limits aren’t just meant for the television. Setting boundaries and limits for when your children are and are not allowed to use tech is a great way to build time management skills and help them learn how to responsibly use the time that they are given. Whether this means no phones at dinner time, screens off by 8PM, or some other creative technique you come up with. Your kids, no matter their age, should understand that their tech doesn’t come without its restrictions.
4. Encourage Them To Make Real World Connections
As adults in the digital age, we more than understand how crucial the internet can be for helping forge connections with people that you may not encounter in your everyday lives. Many kids, especially those who feel slightly isolated in their real lives, may attempt to seek out those connections with people online as well. Encouraging them to seek our real world connections, whether that means having closer relationships with family or through other means like school or church, can combat this amazingly. Having an active social life will keep your kids from relying on their tech as their only means of outside entertainment and turn them into more well-rounded people.
5. Stress The Importance Of Privacy
Kids have to understand the concept of “stranger danger” just as much while using technology as they do in real life. While making a Facebook update or tweeting something funny may seem harmless, they have to understand that what they do online can follow them forever. In addition to telling them not to speak to or share information with those that they don’t know online, you should also remind them that they have a responsibility to conduct themselves in the best ways possible. Not only for their own safety, but for their livelihoods as well.