5 Tips for Parenting in a Tech-driven WorldJun 07, 2021
Parenting is never easy for anyone. Layer on top of that the wonders of technology and things get complicated real quick. However, just like parenting in the “dark ages” before the internet and social media there are some helpful hints to remember when parenting in this day and age.
Here are my five tips to get started with resetting media habits in your house:
- Continue to set limits consistently as you would for other behaviors. Kids need limits set for all things…because something in excess is never a good idea. Moderation is fine and having a healthy tech diet (like 2 hours a day of total screen time as advocated by the American Academy of Pediatrics) is important. Sometimes when we wish we were less connected or unplugged, be realistic. Technology is here to stay. We all use it. And there are benefits to technology. However, we should role model behaviors to our children. So unless you are to move to a deserted island or remote location deep into the woods, we must learn to balance the love/hate relationship with technology but also be mindful of exercising smart use. Have a clear discussion about your expectations early and expect to do it often. Develop a Family Media Plan.
- Play with technology (for example: Xbox, smart phones and computers) while exciting and stimulating does not substitute for low-tech play that harnesses imagination, creativity and “hands on” experiences outdoors and with others in the flesh. I know there are super popular creative video games like Minecraft out there but still…nothing beats good old fashion running outside with friends playing tag, hide and seek, riding bikes, playing sports and exploring.
- Less “Face Time” and more ‘face time’ with each other. Believe me, we are an Apple family through and through but I say this because screen time can easily take over and helps pass the time when other things need to be done (guilty). However, keeping person-to-person conversation at the forefront is essential to teaching social skills. We cannot have our kids communicating only in emoticons and text abbreviations. We need to raise honest to goodness skilled communicators, both verbally and nonverbally. We do this through practice and role modeling. See number 4.
- Keep sacred tech free times/zones. You can put in to practice number 3 by keeping family meals as “NO TECHNOLOGY” time. Share your favorite “Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down” moments. Grab those fun conversation starters if you need to. Get your kids talking and sharing their ideas and thoughts. Talk about what will happen tomorrow, or the weekend. This will give your kids the positive attention they need while letting you all reconnect after busy days at home, work and school. Keep electronics out of kids rooms. Invest in docking stations that can be kept in common areas so bedtime and sleep are kept separate from the activating and stimulating screens at least an hour before bedtime.
- Be proactive and mindful about your children’s use of electronics and social media. Use reputable sites like Common Sense Media (www.commonsensemedia.org). Help teach your child about the dangers of social media: what a digital footprint is, how to be good digital citizens and what they can and should never post online and why.
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