Is Your Family More Click than Talk? 5 Ways to Limit Technology and Bring Conversations Back to Your Family
Our modern society seems to be dictated by technology and social media.
While they definitely have positive applications and benefits, without moderation they can also be detrimental and distracting.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation:
If your family’s tech life looks similar to the above, it might be worth considering how to cut back on the clicks.
While each family has their own routine, the following can be used as a guide in limiting technology use:
1. Set Limits
Technology has become an integral part of life. Children are required to type instead of handwriting their papers; some teachers even give out homework assignments that require watching an educational show or movie.
While at times it might be tempting to cut out technology altogether, that’s not an option today. Setting appropriate time limits is a good alternative. For example, don’t allow cell phone or tablet use at meal times and only allow the television to be on during certain hours of the day.
It’s important not only to establish these rules but to maintain them as well. If you make continual exceptions, these limits become hard to implement.
2. Encourage Other Activities
As sad as it may sound, kids today don’t know how to “play” like you used to. Raised with uninterrupted access to television and computers, children don’t know a life without technology. It’s your job as a parent to introduce them to other activities.
Encourage your children to ride their bikes or swim in the pool. Teach them how to play your favorite board games. Essentially, show them what life is like without technology.
It’s also important to do things as a family. Family activities don’t have to be anything drastic but try little outings, like going mini golfing together or walking to the local ice cream shop without cell phones.
3. Designate a Technology Area
Technology rules the roost when it’s available everywhere. Designate one room in your house to be the “tech zone.” Put the family computer in there along with your main family television. It’s also important not to place TVs in every room of your house, including kids rooms.
Depending on your child’s age, limit tablet and computer usage in rooms as well. It is also helpful to group all tech activities together. For example, allow your children 2 hours of technology time per day. It is up to them to choose how they want to spend it: on the computer, watching a movie, etc.
4. Be Attentive
Without being an overbearing parent, pay attention to what your kids are watching and which sites they’re visiting. If you notice a change in their attitude or mood after watching certain shows, it’s okay to place restrictions.
Kids also appreciate it when you’re interested in what they’re interested in. We’ve already established that our lives will never be tech free again, so instead of bashing their favorite shows, sit down and watch with them.
5. Be the Role Model
As parents, you set the example; this is no different when it comes to technology. It will be hard for children to understand why they’re not allowed to use their phone at the dinner table if you’re texting the entire time.
Don’t be afraid of setting these boundaries, you are the parent and have the prerogative to run your household how you would like, regardless of what “so and so’s parent’s allow.”