House Technology Rules for the Summer
Author: Alyssa Craig
Disclosure: This is a guest post, I am not the author of this article. I received NO form of compensation for this publication.
Our world is overrun with technology, causing many changes in entertainment, education, relationships and communication. While it has lead to many previously unimaginable advances that better the lives of many around the world, it has also had detrimental impacts that have lead to the need for adaptation and change in schools, in the workplace and even in the home.
Unfortunately, our children are far from immune to these changes and impacts. Studies have shown a correlation between technology and an increase in childhood obesity, sedentary lifestyles, attention deficit disorders, and weakened relationships and social skills. Children are also being bombarded with messages about self-image, morality and a host of other topics, such as those discussed in this article.
The good news is that technology is not all bad! It helps us stay in touch with friends and family all over the world, provides new ways for fun and entertainment and some games have even been shown to increase visual spatial skills.
As a parent, you can encourage your children to have a healthy relationship with technology by doing any or all of the following:
- Be aware of how your children are using technology.
- Show interest in the shows they are watching or the games they are playing.
- Spend time with your children, both with and without technology.
- Promote hobbies and activities that do not involve the use of technology.
- Set clear rules and guidelines for technology use in your home.
With most students around the country now on summer vacation, the battle between technology and other activities goes to a new level. But with a few well laid rules, you can help your kids have a fun, active summer instead of one plastered to a screen (or multiple screens!).
Here are a few suggestions:
Treat All Devices Equally
Screen time is screen time. If you are going to set a limit for your children, be sure to be clear that screen time is all inclusive of TV, video games, tablets, computers, etc. This gives them more information so they can decide how they would like to allocate their time and gives you the ability to enforce the rules. The more specific you can be with any rules you set, the better.
Family Tech Zone/Off Limits Zones
Many experts suggest setting up the family computer in a high traffic area (such as the kitchen or living room), rather than an easily secluded office or in bedrooms. This allows for more supervision and helps kids to learn good online habits, as they are much less likely to participate in something they would likely keep secret otherwise.
Even with parental controls, the internet can be an unsafe place and this helps provide a way to keep them protected. Additionally, setting times when technology is not allowed (such as at the dinner table) will help encourage family bonding and give more opportunities for development of social skills.
Curfews for Technology Use
Along with the off limit zones, it may be helpful to set curfews for technology use. If you do not want your children using phones in their rooms or losing valuable sleep on unnecessary screen time, choose a time when phones must be turned in and other screens must be turned off. You can even set up a main charging station in a common area, such as the kitchen, where all devices can charge together overnight.
Parents Can Confiscate Technology
Not only can parents confiscate phones/tablets/computers, etc at any time, but they are also allowed to look at any and all interactions. This helps set similar standards as the family tech zone and helps keep kids honest. It also helps to reinforce that the use of technology is a privilege and one that must be earned and kept with proper use of said technology.
Allow Them to Earn More Screen Time
In the same way you might allow more privileges based on good behavior, extra chores or special projects, allow your children to earn more screen time. Be sure to set specific expectations of how much a certain task or behavior is worth and then follow through with the reward!
Sit down as a family and together go over the rules the parents would like to see enforced and offer the kids an opportunity to present their own guidelines, too. This will help the whole family to feel ownership and make them that much more accountable for the application of the rules.
Technology is a power that all of us have to learn to manage in our lives. With a few simple guidelines, you can make sure your family is using that power for good.