Technology is now firmly embedded into our lives, and each future generation will become even more entrenched with systems that are becoming ever smarter. We need to allow our children to become a part of technology, but equally, we mustn’t allow technology to rule them – or us for that matter. Being a parent means that you have to instil rules and boundaries in all aspects of your child’s life, and help guide them into growing up to be good adults, and that includes tech to. There are several steps that you can take to help them regulate their use of tech, including:
- Have some tech free zones around the house. Make certain places – the meal table is an obvious example – where tech isn’t allowed and ensure that your children – and everyone else for that matter – knows it. Make mealtimes a family celebration rather than yet another venue to stare at a screen. Make sure that includes the TV too, and relearn the art of conversation.
- Set time limits and stick to them. Give your children both times and periods to be online or on their tech and make sure that you stick to them; it’s easy to give in and start a ‘time slip’ which grows and the next thing you know they are back on the tech all day long. Tech is easy and many of us use it as a babysitter, but if you apply a little discipline to yourself and your kids, they will soon understand that tech is good, but there is more to life than ones and zeros.
- Remember to do things with your kids. Summer holidays can be an ideal opportunity to reconnect with your children and there is no better way than through doing things together. Bowling, indoor rock climbing, swimming, long walks in the country are all fabulous ways of connecting with your kids and getting some excellent time away from the tech too; just don’t let them take their tablets along!!
- Be a good role model for your kids. You can use tech – or even the by not using it as appropriate – you can help teach them good hygiene with tech, such as what is appropriate and when to give it a break. That means you need to restrict your own tech use and help your kids do the same by encouraging active playtime; teach your kids that ball sports can go beyond Madden or FIFA and there is more to walks that finding new Pokémon Go characters!
- Use Tech time as an education. Your children will be new to technology, and while they will be learning fast, they will need guidance. That becomes an ideal opportunity to both help with their learning and engage with them as a parent. You may have decades of learning that you can pass across to your children, and even if you don’t learning with them as they use their tech can be a huge benefit to both of you.
Many parent look at technology as being the enemy, and while there have to be rules and limits in place, the savvy parent can turn these to their own advantage and make better kids too.
Taken from the October issue of Geek Parenting, out now!