Kids and technology: Tips on building a healthy relationship

Technology is an integral part of our professional and personal lives. To ignore a healthy relationship between kids and technology is unthinkable. What are the tips to help your children create a healthy relationship with technology? Here are some things that I found particularly useful.

Set time limits

When it comes to a healthy relationship with technology, it is crucial to define daily time limits regarding the use of tablets and computers. This is especially true for very young children.

Supervision or Parental Locks

Technology is not to be demonized. If your child enjoys watching their favorite cartoon on a tablet, then there’s really nothing wrong with that. However, supervision is fundamental if you have not set a parental control filter. Parental locks help you block inappropriate content from your children. This can allow for less supervision, since you know what they can or cannot access. However, minimal supervision is required to make sure that the locks are functioning and that your children have not bypassed them in one way or another.

Alternate various types of activities

One tip that I often give people who want to start a healthy relationship between their kids and technology is to alternate between different types of activities.

For example, once a child has finished using a technological device, it may be helpful to take them to the park or invite them to play a non-digital game that stimulates dexterity. Including technology in a balanced schedule of activities can be extremely useful and positive.

Watch out for apps and games

There are so many apps and games devoted to the world of children. It’s essential to spend time choosing what to download. Take the time to search for apps with positive characters and messages. These apps will then create a positive example from which your children can adopt positive behaviors and attitudes.

No tablet at the table

Using your tablet and other technological devices at the table is discouraged. Eating should be an opportunity for communication, during which we should prevent children from being isolated. When you eat, technology must be set aside to make room for conversations in which children are involved.

Lead by setting a good example

Ensuring that children have a healthy relationship with technology is a great choice, which can be effective if it is backed up by example. This means that if your rules include not using smartphones or tablets during dinner, it should hold true for everyone. You may also benefit from this and feel more serene, unless it is essential (e.g. you are on-call for your job).

The importance of digital education

Digital education is essential from early childhood. Kids are growing up surrounded by technology so it is important to foster the relationship, rather than sever it. Schools are often unequipped to fully discuss the subject fully. Therefore, it is important to start introducing certain subjects at home: safety online, general attitudes, respect, etc.

At the beginning, it might feel strange or difficult to introduce these topics. Take it in small steps and start every conversation with a small “learning objective” in mind. Start, for example, by explaining clearly to children who have already started schooling that technology and the web are not magical worlds totally unrelated to the newspaper or TV. They are different parts of the same world and are related. Therefore, we must always have respect for others and the things we encounter online.

In short, our kids are growing up as digital natives and to suffocate this natural state does not make sense. Technology is growing year on year and it will only become a more integrated part of our lives. Take the time to think about how you want it to be structured within your children’s lives and take small steps to introduce it calmly and logically. 

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