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May 17, 2016
Did you know that 60% of toddlers can use a smartphone before they can talk? Kids aren’t the only ones appearing to have technology addictions, it’s the whole family. In fact, parents overuse of technology is causing kids to start school lacking social skills. Chris Rothey, Executive Chairman of Content Watch offers some solutions below. Decide what’s the right amount of time for screen time.
Tweens are spending 6 hours a day on a device (outside of schoolwork) and teens are spending 9 hours on average (according to Common Sense Media). Rothey asks, “How many other things could our children be doing when they aren’t online?” He also states, “Although there are good things about technology, the amount of time we’re spending is turning our children into zombies and kids are saying the same thing about their parents.” How can we enforce these time limits?
Parents are using a variety of ways to manage their kids time online. They are often using technology as a disciplinary tool by limiting their child’s time on devices as a consequence. Rothey suggests using a parental control software like Net Nanny to help limit their time online. In addition to limiting their time, you can see what kids are doing online, block pornography, and mask profanity. These tools can help them set time limits and curfews to limit arguments and create a more positive family environment.How about mealtime? The whole family needs guidelines to be successful communicating at the dinner table. Perhaps the best way to avoid the temptation of using your smart phone is to not even bring devices to the table. Rothey suggests using a ‘tech time out basket’ by asking everyone to put their devices into the basket during family time to encourage conversation.
These problems can occur outside the home as well. How many times have you been in a restaurant and watched a family eating together while on their devices and no one is talking? Rothey says, “Children learn the most advanced vocabulary words while sitting at the table with their parents. If you’re having a conversation while on a device, you’re losing half the visual cues.”
Overall, research is proving that we have a problem with technology and we need to make some adjustments to allow for healthier communications in our families.