Children and Technology

Are your children living “plugged in”? Are you concerned with how much your child “should” be accessing technology?

Children of all ages are drawn to the many tools and devices technology has to offer. From computers, video games, facebook, ipad, ipod, cell phones and texting.  Technology is a major part of our world today and readily accessible. If used appropriately, technology and interactive media can support learning and development. However, it can be all consuming and expose children to inappropriate material.

What is certain is that technology is not going away and that managing it can be quite a task. Parents need to set clear expectations for the use of technology. Ensure that the rules you set align with your values. Below are some tips that may help:

  1. Use digital materials together with your child and interact with him by asking questions about what he is seeing and doing.
  2. Limit screen time. Viewing times vary based on age of child. As a     general rule, no more than one to two hours of technology a day.
  3. Encourage your child to find balance by participating in other outlets for relaxation and entertainment (reading, playing outside, making arts and crafts).
  4. Keep technology in the open. Use in the open living areas, never behind closed doors to assure supervision and monitoring of computer access.
  5. Discuss safety and etiquette. Act out scenarios with child. Ask what would she do if someone asked for information about her or what would she do if she or someone she knew was being bullied online
  6. Establish tech-free family time. Set a time daily for turning off all devices and spending time with family members–this includes you! For instance, no use of cell phones during dinnertime or collect all devices an hour before bedtime.
  7. Talk to other families about your media expectations and ask how they address them at home. Support each other to ensure kids safety by agreeing to the proper use and supervision of technology while in each other’s homes.
  8. Be mindful of the messages you are conveying to your children. Do not text and drive, and stay off your cell phone or other devices when you need to stay attentive to people or activities.