Healthy Electronic Habits For ChildrenLeave a Comment
Parents have put restrictions on the amount of tech-time their kids can spend in front of TV screens for years. Nowadays parents have a myriad of devices to worry about. From iPods, tablets and computers, to video games and digital toys, the task of establishing healthy electronics habits for children is becoming a difficult one for parents. Read on to learn more about healthy electronic habits for children and learn some tips for how to implement them into your family’s everyday routine.
The Importance Of Monitoring Your Child’s Electronics Time
Dr. Shimi Kang, a Vancouver-based psychiatrist and author, recommends that kids under the age of 18 should only have two hours of screen time outside of educational purposes. Zero screen time is recommended for children under the age of two. While the children of 2016 have many advantages with the amount of technology at their finger tips, too much screen time can have an adverse affect on their health. Obesity, poor eating habits, sleep loss, social isolation and even behavioral problems can all stem from overuse, according to Dr. Shimi Kang. Cases of Internet and video game addiction in children are on the rise as well. Kang recounts hundreds of kids in her practice that exhibit technology addiction symptoms. “The accessibility of devices is at an unprecedented level – and it’s caught parents off guard,” Kang told Global News. “And in all honesty, we are losing this battle, if you want to call it that.”
Tips For Forming Healthy Electronic Habits For Your Family
As the rise of mobile devices continues, a trend in parental control apps and software rise as well. These allow parents to more easily manage their children’s electronic devices. Such apps allow you to not only set content limits, but also limit the amount of time your child spends on certain apps altogether. If you don’t feel comfortable monitoring your kid’s screen time through apps or other tracking means, though, there are still many things you can do at home to promote a healthy relationship between your children and electronics. Kang recommends parents help their children to understand why it’s important to limit their electronic use.
Also, allow your children the fun of picking activities and planning out what they want to do online during their allotted time. According to Dr. Kang, parents should, “Reinforce that it’s important that they (their children) get outside and play with their friends first, but to also ask them what games they would like to play during those two hours of screen time.” Parents also plat an important role when it comes to electronics use by modeling healthy electronic habits to their children. This includes not checking your cellphone during family meals, texting while driving, etc. “Realize that you are in control – kids don’t have access to technology without parents, especially little children.”
During the school year, in an attempt to maintain healthy electronic habits for their children, many parents rely on the classic rule: “no video games on school days”, or “no electronics until your homework is finished.” But as summer days near, managing electronic playtime gets a little more complicated. One technique to keep consistent healthy electronics habits for your kids is to allow them to earn video-game or technology time. For example, an hour of reading or chores might be worth an hour of playing video games or watching TV. You can always simply limit your child’s tech-time per day. Allow them to gain your trust and reward them with choices. For example, allowing your children to decide how they want to divide up their allotted tech time between their other tasks.
As you think through how your new healthy electronic habits will look at your house, be sure to consider several other things. Do you count gaming as part of an overall technology time allotment? Does building a world in Minecraft count the same as sitting and watching Sponge Bob? How about family gaming time: should having a family MarioKart race count as part of your kids’ set amount of computer or video-game time? Be sure to be thorough while making your rules in order to be fair to everyone involved. For example, you don’t want to tell your kids you’ll be monitoring their every minute of tech-time unless you’re up to the task. Otherwise you’ll end up reinforcing your kids on how to manipulate or trick you into getting more than you allotted!
Do you have any tips on how to set healthy electronic habits? Please share them & any other thoughts below. We love to hear from you! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, & Google Plus.