Following are some more suggestions to help take the ;scary' out of technology use:
1. Require access to all email and social media accounts and know your children's passwords:
Let them know UP FRONT that you'll check text messages, emails and social media accounts. It's not spying on them you are giving them fair warning that you'll be checking to help keep them safe.
2. Implement a technology curfew:
Phones, computers and gaming devices must be turned off during meals and by an agreed upon time each night. " Technology blackout" times encourage families to do things together and forces children to get creative with their free time. It also means that they are more likely to sleep at night instead of staying up using their devices. Once you have spoken about this with your children, you can use parental control apps to schedule locks on all devices if you think that is necessary. Remember though, that the goal is to help your children learn self- restraint.
3. You can make bedrooms off-limits for technology:
Require that computers and smartphones be used in public spaces and charged in a central area like the kitchen.
Be very clear about the positive and negative consequences. If your child follows your house's standards be sure to find a way to recognize their efforts, verbal encouragement is ok but spending time together doing something your child enjoys is great. If your child won't comply with your technology standards, the devices go away for a break, again for a previously agreed on time. This means they might have to use the computers at school for homework and go back to the most basic mobile phone without texting capability and internet access.
5. Set an example as good digital citizens:
Forty-six percent of kids have seen Mum or Dad use the phone during dinner, and 49 percent don't see anything wrong with it. If the kids witness you doing it, they will assume its approved behavior. That means no texting while driving (not even at red lights!), or it's safe to assume your kids will follow suit when it's their turn behind the wheel.
6. Find apps that encourage impulse control and creativity:
Remember that technology can have a positive effect on children and their families.
This can occur when it is used for a balance of learning, communication and entertainment, when parents are very clear about what they are comfortable with in terms of technology use and when they stick to the boundaries they set .. without succumbing to peer pressure.
Remember that learning using technology is more rewarding and engaging than traditional learning and can be very helpful if your child needs repetition to learn. It can promote social engagement during games if children are playing together or by talking about the games they play. Some apps are being developed now that are designed to increase attention and improve impulse control, thus counteracting the main detrimental effects to development that technology can cause.
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