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Gina Badalaty is a lifestyle blogger for moms raising kids with special needs. She is passionate about living a nontoxic life, inclusion for kids with disabilities and technology to help kids thrive.
July 24, 2012Net Nanny for Android 2.0
Feb 11, 2018
You’ve tried your best but no matter what you do, your child’s favorite activity is to spend all day on their smart phone or tablet. If bribery, discipline, and intervention has not worked, it’s time for you to face the truth: your child may have a tech addiction. Like most parents, I struggle with setting boundaries with technology that my family will respect. Before setting boundaries, though, it’s important to understand why our kids are on their devices so much. Unfortunately, the truth is that we, as parents, are partly responsible.
Here are a few things you should think about before limiting your family’s screen time: Examine Your Own Tech Usage I never used to be a big TV person, but my husband was used to turn the TV on when he woke up each morning and kept it on until bedtime. I broke him of this habit because I find background noise terribly distracting. I’m guilty too, though. Games like Candy Crush relax me and I can easily overindulge. Additionally, I’ve exchanged books for Kindle downloads. While I know I’m reading a book, to my children it looks like screen time. How much time do you use screens and tech devices around your children? They will learn from what they see, not just what you tell them to do. Breaking your child’s tech habit begins with working on your own.
With so many families exchanging landlines for smart phones, many of us now feel we need 24/7 access to our phones. We use them for so many of life’s details too: car navigation, camera at events, scheduling our days. Even though such phone use is practical and handy, many of us have lost the ability to leave home without it. Take stock of how often you use and rely on your phone and other devices and think about which are not necessary.
We live in a day and age where boredom is intolerable and we’ve taught that to our children too. Most people don’t know what to do if they have five minutes of free time. However, research has shown that boredom is linked to creativity. If you or your children are struggling to be creative, to solve problems and to think outside the box, you may be spending too much of your downtime on your devices.
I have a secret. I’m actually thrilled when my learning-disabled daughter is playing an age-appropriate video game. She struggled for years with these games, but almost overnight, seemed to have mastered one her dad likes. Pretty cool, right? The downside is that, like most kids, she would rather play lots of games than read a single chapter in a book. I’m still happy with her accomplishment but it must be balanced with other offline activities. What lies are you telling yourself that encourages your child to spend more time on tech?
Once you’ve taken a good look at those very difficult questions and answered them honestly, you can begin creating boundaries for your child. Tech addiction often takes place among all family members, so make sure that you and your children abide by these rules.
Technology is a great tool for children, but like everything else, moderation is key. Don’t let them spend their whole lives in front of the screen when a whole world of activity awaits them.
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