5 Tips To Stop Your Kid Becoming A Digital Zombie
Are you worried about your kid becoming addicted to technology? Follow these guidelines from Dr Kristy to help keep your kid's technology diet a balanced one.
- Set time limits
Before you hand over the gaming console, TV remote, smartphone or tablet, set limits. Use a timer to keep a track on the accumulated screen time (if you’re like me, I often forget when they started using the technology). There’s no use saying, “Your time is up” once the child is engrossed in the video game (or TV, or tablet). They just won’t want to switch it off.
- Adhere to the time limits you establish
As cute as their little faces can be when they’re pleading for, “Just ten more minutes…puh-lease?” you really need to adhere to the agreed amount of time that you established (see the point above). It’s a very slippery slope once you start giving in and allowing your child to have extra time. The ten extra minutes soon becomes 20 and then 30. Then every time you ask your child to switch off the device, they know that they can negotiate with you.
- See technology as just one part of a balanced approach to childhood
Ensure technology’s part of a balanced approach to childhood. Ensure that they still enjoy off-screen activities. Playing outside, interacting with peers and climbing tress are still really important learning experiences for children. Technology is no substitute for these experiences (see the Every Chance to Learn Facebook page each Friday for ‘Screen-Free Brain Booster tips).
- Have a ‘Bored Board'
Depending on the age of your child, you can list (or have photos) a menu of activities that your child can select from when they say, “I’m bored…”. This stops them and you from reverting to technology to simply overcome boredom. We really want children to use technology in intentional ways. This stops technology from becoming the digital babysitter or digital pacifier.
- Model healthy media habits yourself (raising my hand to say it’s the hardest strategy to implement)
Are you constantly checking your email or your Facebook feed in front of your children? Children are inheriting our media habits (like they do all of our habits). They’re always watching. So try, where possible, to limit your media use with little ones around. As a working mum, I know that this isn’t always possible. But just try to keep it in check when you can.\
Read more from Dr Kristy on whether kids do actually become addicted to technology.