Kids & Tech: Tips for Parents in the Digital Age
No matter how hard you try, your child is going to grow up ‘digitally.’ All children born after 1995 are called Gen Z or iGen; they are the generation born after the Internet was commercialized in 1995. They are the most digitally connected generation, making up to 25 percent of the American population.
Although the Internet has allowed them to learn faster and broader, communicate and travel all over the world, the impact has also been shown on their mental and physical health, as well as their ability to focus. As a parent, how do we teach our children to use technology mindfully and in the right way?
Spend a lot of time with your kids
Giving them your phone as a means of entertainment has proven to be the most detrimental thing you can do. Instead, try limiting their time spent in front of screens by playing with them or going to an outdoor adventure. Delay buying them a phone as much as possible, but do note that it is inevitable that they are going to ask for it. Instead of purchasing the technology, why don’t you buy some exciting and engaging toys, like these toys at FUNTASTICTOY.COM? It is a much better option for their cognitive and motor skills. Talk to your children and be an example. You are their biggest role model, and if you are on your phone all day long, they will develop that habit, too.
No social media
Even the older millennials see the bad sides of social media. A lot of teenagers wish that their parents controlled their access to social media when they were younger. Social media today is designed to be addictive and detrimental to our self-esteem so they can sell their products to us. A lot of experts say that social media should be banned entirely for children, which is easier said than done. But it is wise to keep them away as much as you can.
Spend a lot of time outside
A lot of kids these days sit so much that they have back problems at a very young age. Sitting for so long, plus the junk food that they are probably eating a lot, is the primary cause of the obesity levels among children. Take them outside often and let them play in parks and playgrounds with other children. Play sports with them or enroll them in a local team. Apart from getting the exercise they need, they will also make a lot of friends and practice their social skills, instead of chatting with them online. Give them a lot of freedom when it comes to their time with their friends or their outside activities. It may sound daunting, but controlling every part of their life may make them want to contradict your rules.
Talk to them
Instead of just putting in the rules, talk to them about why they are better off without a profile on any of the social media sites. Explain to them in the words that they will understand, but also, bear in mind that they may understand the words, but not the talk. They are just kids, after all, and they had not yet seen the damage social media might cause. But do not completely limit their time online. If they want to watch movies and cartoons, let them, but be cautious that they do not go overboard. Even video games are great sometimes because they can still practice their motor skills, but again, watch for the explicit content. You can also play the games with them; this way, you will let them do what they want but still have full insight into what they are doing online.