Setting limits around tech with your kids can mean some tough choices. However, setting limits is an essential part of helping children learn to use technology sensibly.
Technology is an everyday part of a child’s life these days. It’s also something that is next to impossible to eliminate it, no matter how much a parent may want to. Kids as young as two and three are commonly using apps on smart phones and tablets, and by the time they enter school, computers are a regular part of how they learn.
Here are some tips that can help.
Decide what’s right for your family. There isn’t a right or wrong answer to how much technology should be a part of your child’s life. For some families, allowing their child to have zero exposure is the right choice. For other families, allowing their child to play and learn on a tablet every day is the right choice. As a parent, you have to decide what you’re most comfortable with and what you feel is most beneficial to your child. Of course, this will change as your child gets older. This is an issue that you’ll revisit and revaluate often.
Make sure to look at the whole picture. Often, parents don’t realize how much screen time their child is actually getting because there are so many different pieces of the puzzle and it often happens in small chunks of time. Keep a journal for a week to really get an accurate idea of how much technology and screen time your child is exposed to. Track TV time, including recorded and on demand shows and DVDs, gaming time, including TV, computer, phone, tablet and handheld deices, computer time and, finally, smart phone and tablet time. Your child may not have access to all of those sources, but there’s a good chance he has access to at least a few. Once you know how much time your child is spending in front of each type of screen, you can make a well-informed decision about any limits you want to put into place.
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