It seems to have become a pretty prominent contender on the list of parent worries - how much screen time is too much? At what point should we start considering banning technology in our homes? For mealtimes, bedtimes, weekdays, or not at all?
Aside from obvious technology scares, all of the online chatting worries, our fears have come a long way since “It’ll give you square eyes!”. Now it’s more, what are they looking at? What happened to playing outside? Is that game too violent? Does my child know how to socialize outside of Snapchat? Not to mention that it’s no secret our kids seem to be Tech Geniuses and we’re slowly trying to keep up…
After experts have recently called for Official Guidelines on Child Screen Use, it’s only natural that we as parents start to wonder: what is the best way for us to monitor screen time in our family?
We’ve been exploring ways to ensure that we’re as on top of our children's relationships with technology as we possibly can be. Here are our top tips.
- Limit the screen time - This is quite a common one already, which you more than likely have put into practise. You can go about this by limiting tech time in the week to school work related use only, or give a designated 1-2 hour allocated time that they can use their tablets, gadgets, VR headsets etc… Try also banning anyone using phones (parents included) during meal times. Remind them that people outside of the screen can have conversations too…
- Make sure you’re just as up to date with the latest apps as they are - This can be a pretty good insight to what your kids are up to. If this means downloading Musical.ly and miming to Beyonce with them, or getting Snapchat and sending them selfies of you with freakishly large eyes and some dog ears, then so be it.
- Give them an educational nudge - Suggest some beneficial things that they could be doing with their time on technology. Whether it’s a reading app (because books are like, so 2015), or a language teaching app, or even learning about financial education with their goHenry account, it’s never a bad idea to use this new technology phase to your (and their) advantage. Let them use it productively rather than just a passtime.
- Make sure they are technology safety savvy - As scary as it might be, go through all of your tech worries with them. You can’t expect them to use the internet, software and apps wisely without really knowing what to look out for. There are tonnes of online forums and instructions on how to keep kids safe online. Let them discover the amazing things that our ever evolving knowledge of technology has to offer them, in the safest way they possibly can.
For some examples of safety tips, check out the links below. We as parents cannot think of anything more important than keeping our children safe at all times. Even if that does subject us to the Snapchat dog filter.