There’s no denying it, we live in a tech-savvy world. The digital age today was not what I grew up in. In high school I had a pager, remember those? Someone would page you with their phone number and then you’d have to find a pay phone to call them back.
Or even worse they’d leave a voicemail and then I’d have to use the pay phone to check the message before I could call them.
My kids don’t even know what a payphone is. Not when everyone has a cell phone. Our cell phones were as big as our purse and all they did was call people.
Enter the world of text messages and the internet and you’ve got one technology developed system right in your hands.
1. Fail to discuss online safety
It’s a dangerous place to give your child free reign without discussing safety first. My kids do not chat online with anyone. We’ve talked about keeping login and passwords secret except from parents. We’ve talked about strangers that we can’t really tell who online friends are that we just meet because they may be something they don’t say they are.
2. Give them unlimited screen time
Don’t set limits on what your children. There are children who spend countless hours playing video games or in front of the TV each day. Can you imagine how many hours that adds up to over the year? If given a choice children will gravitate towards screens. There’s so much that your children are missing out on when they sit idly in front of a screen. They are a passive observer of the screen. There’s no thought involved in watching TV. Video games give you instant gratification as you achieve new medals or pass another level. This does not happen in real life. You have to wait for things and learn to use our patience. Something that is not taught well with video games.
3. Don’t monitor their online activities
As much as I’d love to truly trust my children online, I know that curiosity can get the best of you and it’s so easy to find it on the internet. My oldest just got an email address this year at 13 to keep in contact with some of his homeschool friends and family. He also has his own laptop which if it were up to me, he would not have. But according to his father, he is ready. He has internet filters on his laptop and I check his history often to see what he is up to. He understands that if he violates our trust then he will lose his privileges.
4. Don’t stay consistent with your rules
There’s no point in laying out ground rules if they are not enforced. Sure it’s easier to go without the whining and complaining about using the TV or playing video games, but if you’ve set out rules, you need to be ready to impose consequences should they not be followed. I love how the books state that the parent who wants to do away with screen time and does nothing is the same as the parent who gives their child free reign with screens.
You have to be willing to say no and both you and your hubby needs to be on board. The children will quickly learn to ask permission from if one of you is willing to bend the rules.
5. Fail to instill a screen-free time for your family
There needs to be a screen-free time for your family, that includes everyone not just your kids but parents too. You can tell your kids that they can’t use the tablet if you are there sitting and using your phone. When one person is absorbed in their electronic device then it’s super easy to ignore everyone else.
Make a schedule to screens after dinner so that you can use that time to spend together reading or playing board games. My children earn their screen time and it’s completed before dinner time. Studies have shown that children don’t sleep as well when they have screen time right before bed so we’ve always limited those times to reading time.
Growing Up Social opens up your eyes to why screens are bad for your children and that you have to start doing something about it today.