11 steps for a healthy relationship with technology
Are you worried about your children spending too much time in front of screens? Would you like your child to have a healthy relationship with technology?
We all do. The first step is to keep informed about the use, advantages and risks related to technology devices.
There is a lot of information available that can help you meet your goals. Probably, you do not have enough time to read all the books you want, search on the Internet and keep up to date. So we will save you many hours of research and reading!
Here is our summary of time management ideas for a healthy and safe relationship with technology:
- Pay attention and communicate with your children: childhood passes very quickly and during this time our kids need us the most. By imitation, they learn to interact and manage their emotions. They are always attentive to their parents. It is therefore essential to promote and maintain a consistent, clear and respectful communication with your children.
- Be an example: “If you leave your child magnetized to a screen and if the child sees the parents doing the same, we are creating the conditions for an unhealthy relationship with technology”, Richard Graham, psychiatrist at Capio Nightingale hospital.
- Minimize risks: for their physical safety it is preferable not to leave a mobile device to children under 3-4 years. In order to reduce the likelihood of shocks, falls, muscle aches (hands, neck and back) and the exposure to electromagnetic waves.
- Respect game rating age: iTunes recommends downloading apps for children from 4 years old. Kids should not play games for people over 18.
- Get the help of parental control software that restricts access to certain content and applications and that allows you to monitor the type of web pages your children are browsing.
- Talk to them and let them know the risks and issues they can find on the Internet or while they are playing online games.
Allowing [kids] to help develop guidelines and stick to them helps them learn how to self-regulate. It lets them buy into the program, says Sara Dimerman, a psychologist and parenting expert.
- Counteract technology by doing physical and social outdoor activities such as sports, contact with nature and face-to-face games, which also develop empathy.
- Set flexible game limits according to each child: the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to limit the total exposure to all screens (TV, smartphones, tablets, laptops, Wii, Xbox, Nintendo, PSP) as a form of children’s entertainment as follows:
- No exposure to technology for children under two years.
- Children from 3 to 5 years are limited to one-hour daily use.
- Children from 6 to 18 years are limited to two-hour daily use.
- Work with your kids to determine screen time rules: limits help children to take responsibility for the consequences of their behaviour and give them security by making clear what they can and cannot do. All together as a family we can agree on clear rules for gaming and screen exposure that are appropriate to the age and characteristics of each child. Let them be part of the decision. Kid Crono makes it easier to set time limits.
- Establish flexible schedules: access to the Internet and new technologies are not a priority for children and should not become their main form of entertainment. It is recommended not to use screens (TV, computers, tablets, mobile phones, PSP, Wii) one hour before going to bed because this could interfere with sleep. The brain needs time to calm down after the stimulation received during the use of these devices.
- Spend time together: technology offers many benefits but should not become an electronic babysitter or a “child silencer”.