For older kids, you’re going to need a buy-in.
As kids become older, they’ll start pleading with you for their own gadgets and claiming vehemently that all their pals have one, too. This is a persistent problem that may affect other aspects of life. According to Anya Kamenetz, author of The Art of Screen Time, “If you don’t have a decent screen-time policy, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of trouble.” “It may make other difficulties, including schoolwork, sleep, and behavior concerns, worse.”
As a family, get together and establish screen time guidelines. Conversation is your best tactic, she continues. “Consider appropriate times to use screens, such as on the weekends, on sick days, or while traveling. As children become older, rules are subject to discussion, so check in often to discuss what’s working and what isn’t.” In order to keep youngsters away from screens, she also advises utilizing positive reinforcement, such as by promising a family excursion.
You may also be honest with them about how seductive the internet is. Help them comprehend the strategies used by app developers and gadget manufacturers to keep us “hooked,” suggests Graber. “Describe how, for instance, YouTube will queue up a new video the moment the one you’re viewing ends. No youngster like being controlled, and when they discover how their phones are dictating their actions, they often reconsider how they use their internet time.”
Additionally, now is the perfect moment to cultivate those “positive” screen habits, like surfing the internet to discover interests or practice new abilities. Find out how your children are using the internet and find out what they are doing, advises Graber. “You may be surprised! Even while we want youngsters to sometimes put their gadgets down, these lovely and fruitful online activities should be encouraged—and maybe even done together!”
Additionally, you may consider using hardware like routers that disable the wi-fi signal after a certain period of time or parental control software to keep an eye on your children. These may be useful, but they won’t be sufficient on their own. Screens and technology seem to be a perfectly contemporary issue that calls for an equally modern solution, but Bromfield disagrees. It takes time and work, but traditional, careful, and consistent parenting may be the safest and shortest course of action.
And then there’s the little matter of your own devices.
Telling your children that using screens is a waste of their time and skill while simultaneously checking your phone is the simplest way to undercut your own efforts. Few adults are ready to rein in their own activity, according to Bromfield, “despite how horrifying and worrying parents find their children’s screens to be.”
You must support your own family’s stance as well. When you enter, leave your phone beside the entrance, advises Kamenetz. “Disable your alerts. If you must use your phone while your children are around, explain to them why you’re doing it: “I’m checking the weather so I know what clothing you need for tomorrow.” You become accountable as a result of this.”
At least until they go to sleep, after which you may resume browsing through Twitter.