I am often asked by parents about how much screen time is enough for children these days and while working with the children in the Magic Blox workshops, the discussions are primarily about gaming, technology, Ipad, cell-phones, wi-fi and television with children as young as five, and increasing with the older pre-teen children.
As parents living with children in this world of technology (which has only really come into existence in the past decade), it is hard to know how to cope with it, understand it and protect our children all at the same time!
We often find our children know far more about technology than we do and therefore it is difficult to implement rules on something we do not understand.
I believe that technology plays an extremely important role in our children’s lives currently and will be crucial in the years to come when they enter the world of adulthood. Therefore I have a few pointers and tips on how you can use technology in a positive way to connect with your children. I also recently came across some very interesting articles that I have referenced below.
Tips to embrace technology
- If your child has a cell phone, use it to send them positive communication, eg. I am so proud of you……! Hope you are having a good day ….? Good luck for ……… . Try to think of positive reasons to communicate with your child.
- Set more limits: Designate times that the technology needs to be turned off, for instance, during family meals, after 8 p.m., and during school hours. Some families don’t allow technology in children’s rooms at night to keep kids from texting, gaming or going online after bedtime. Teach your child not to answer or return calls, texts or social media posts from people they don’t know.
- Follow the same limits yourself: Let’s face it: You have to walk your talk! If you don’t want your child to use technology during meals then follow those rules yourself. If you don’t want them to be continuously connected to technology, don’t do so yourself. You are your child’s No. 1 role model, whether your child admits it or not.
- Teach good behaviour: Children are born knowing how to use technology, however they don’t necessary know the rules. Together with your children create a set of rules that are acceptable and in agreement for both children and parents.
- Many of the games available teach children positive Life Skills and studies have shown that gaming may boost a child’s learning, health, and social skills. This kind of play can strengthen a range of cognitive skills such as spatial navigation, reasoning, memory and perception. These skills translate to school and the workforce. Here are two articles that may offer some suggestions as to what your child could be playing:
- Media and technology are here to stay and will be a permanent part of our children’s future in a way we can’t even begin to imagine, and is a great concern about how it may be affecting our children.