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Today, I want to show you what you can do to manage your child’s tech time, no matter what age they are. Kids and tablets seem to go hand in hand these days. Some parents believe in no screen time, some believe in a little, like me, and then there are moms like me who don’t mind their toddlers having the iPad whenever they want it because it keeps them occupied.
In 2010, only 8% of American families with children between the ages of 0-8 had tablets in their home. By 2011, about 40% did. My little one is two and a half. From the day he was born until today, his brain has tripled in size.
Parents teach their children how to communicate and develop emotional bonds. For children who spend too much time interacting with a screen, may find it harder to develop some essential life skills they need. For example, impulse-control, challenging themselves, empathy, and doing things in moderation. As a result, this could become their very first addiction.
A tablet should not become the main method to soothe and distract your child.
Toddler and Tablets: When Should You Make The Introduction?
Children reach for electronic gadgets of all kinds, particularly cell phones and tablets. My little one has claimed my iPad. He thinks it belongs to him and I need approval before touching it. Nowadays, children using technology is the norm, so when is the best time to introduce your child to the digital world?
Wait until they are in preschool if possible. There is a lot of electronic educational content out there. You can manage your child’s tech time by allowing your child to engage in learning activities. The goal is to create a balance with “real-playing” time and digital time.
Yes, our little one uses the iPad, but we only allow him to have it in the living room. Anywhere else is off limits. This simply stops him from wanting to take it with him when he goes to bed, or visit family, or even to a restaurant! I have seen many children having dinner out with their parents, with both mom and dad on their smartphones, while son and daughter are on iPads. This will not help you manage your child’s tech time if you are not setting a good example.
Children need balance. It is up to you to allocate and manage your child’s tech time while leaving time in their day for other activities. Parents need to be models for their children. I won’t lie, I like being on my laptop, watching series, reading, and working on my blog. It is important to consciously turn off electronics in order to just have that “us” time with my little one. When he goes to bed, I still have time to finish writing or watching.
Keep in mind that content is key. Many apps teach colours, math, time, shapes, etc. In our world today, it is unavoidable to use technology as a teaching tool. You only need to ensure you are making smart choices for your child.
Things To Remember About Digital Life
Kids are creators. They love to learn new things and explore the world. When they are still toddlers, they have mom and dad to watch over them when they are out and about, and teachers to help support them during the school day. My toddler loves to talk and be active. He loves participating in as much as he can and cannot resist a good challenge.
We loved the fact that he loves being outdoors, much more than being inside and staring at the screen. Some days, when the weather just won’t allow, so he stays indoors,and that’s where the balance between digital time and toys time comes in.
When you manage your child’s tech time, you are showing your child that the real world is different from the digital world. We want our kids to make great decisions so they can take advantage of the powerful technology that fills their lives. In order to make good choices, kids must know how the digital world works.
As soon as your child reaches an appropriate age, it is essential for your child to know that the majority of people they may come into contact with online, will be anonymous to them. They should also know that when something is out there, it will not go away. Everything leaves a digital footprint.
Phones are no longer only used for making phone calls like they were when I was growing up. Smartphones allow us to listen to music, send texts, take pictures, film videos, and access the internet.
If you are a millennial like me, you are probably an experienced internet user. Technology is highly integrated into your daily life. In our world today, parents can’t afford to be technophobes. It is everywhere.
Our basic parenting wisdom should be extended into the digital world. If our kids are going to thrive with digital media, we must balance the negative with the positive, privacy with protection.
Manage Your Child’s Tech Time Until They Move Out Of Your House
Be assertive about when your child can use his or her phone or tablet. Consider your child’s maturity level. Before making any decisions about screen time, consider your child’s maturity level. You should set boundaries on how long your child is allowed to be in front of the screen. Make those daily boundaries rather than weekly. You get to decide on their internet usage rules, which should only be up for discussion after your child reaches a certain age. Controlling your child’s access to the internet is good parenting.
Other Ways To Manage Your Child’s Tech Time
- Have full control of their internet access. Even if they only watch kiddie videos on YouTube.
- Have full control of their internet access. Even if they only watch kiddie videos on YouTube.
- Use some tools to restrict their Internet access.
- Filter web content.
- Restrict web navigation.
- Find out where they’re hanging out online.
It is important for children to understand that it is never OK to give out identifying information about themselves, friends, or family members. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, where you work, email addresses, passwords, social security numbers, and credit card numbers.
How Apps Are Beneficial And Can Help Manage Your Child’s Tech Time
Kids love tools where they can actually make something happen. If your child is asking you for apps, check out an app before you let your child use it. I always test them before I download any on the iPad for our little one. I don’t rely on the age recommendations in the iTunes Store or on Google Play. Read reviews and comments as a place to start. Apps can be fun, educational, or both. The most important goal is protecting your child’s privacy and ensuring safety.
When downloading apps, try to steer away from geo-location apps, such as Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, MobileMe etc. I used to have my iPad synced with my iPhone. Now, in order to ensure safety and protection for my little one, I created a new iPad and iCloud account so the two are completely separate. The essential component to all geo-location apps is revealing the user’s location in real-time. Why would you want your child on an app or device that is capable of revealing your child’s exact location in real-time to complete strangers?
When you set usage rules for internet and technology use, which can include certain days of the week and also hours, you will do better to manage your child’s tech time. Allow some flexibility, but don’t be a pushover. Choose different areas of your house and make those no screen zones. Also, remember that kids should power down their screens at least 30 minutes before they go to sleep. Our screen time management system works well for us, and the more you practice it, the easier it will be for you and your kids.
Use Parental Control Apps
There are so many out there, for me personally, I love Family Time. This app allows you will keep you posted on your children’s whereabouts and let you manage screen time and block apps on their phones.
Block the apps and games you don’t want to be running on your kids’ devices altogether or even remotely shut down a device. I love that you can also limit device access in the hours allocated for homework.
This app also offers bedtime controls, so your kids are in bed and really sleeping when it’s lights out.
We aren’t that far along yet, but we will be using this app in the future and will recommend it to family and friends.
Geo-fence as many places as you want to. You will get instant alerts when your kids enter or leave geo-fenced places any time. If you are worried about your child getting home from school safely, or is not where they are supposed to be at any given time, use this app to make sure they are safe. Best of all? Your kids CANNOT uninstall the app.
Available on iPhone, iPad & Android Phones/Tablets
Other Great Free Educational And Entertaining Apps For Toddlers
Kids follow what adults do, and they benefit greatly when expectations and good digital habits are modeled for them.
Be your kids personal example when teaching good digital habits. Have age appropriate conversations about technology use. This will help children build good digital habits and be responsible. Use technology free time to create intimate bonds, and promote a healthy family dynamic. Technology is great, but you can offer fun alternatives too.
Encourage your child to follow their passion, do what they love, try a new instrument, learn how to bake. Help them feed their passions.
Can you think of any additional things that parents should know about managing their child’s screen time?
How do you manage your child’s tech time? Share with me in the comments section below.