We live in a world of technology. While technology can be a wonderful tool, it is easy for kids to get overloaded with screen time. Here are some quick tips to help your kids stay off the iPad and on the right track!
Let’s Talk about Technology
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children spend an average of SEVEN hours a day viewing entertainment media (television, video games, phone, etc.). Excessive exposure to media can have potential detrimental effects such as attention problems, learning difficulties, sleep disorders and obesity.
The challenge of excessive technology is often what children might be missing out on while engaging in screen time. Research suggests that children learn the best from interactions with other. Excessive screen time not only interrupts time with others, but it also takes time away from homework, exercising, spending time outdoors, or developing “unplugged” talents.
Quick tips to help keep technology use in check:
1. Discuss technology use as a family. Discuss reasons for technology guidelines and, where possible, allow youth to help create rules and guidelines.
2. Install a computer filter and set parental controls on accounts such as Netflix.
3. Create technology free zones. Remove televisions from children’s rooms, and consider also storing smart phones and tablets outside of bedrooms.
4. Set limits. Turn on the television to watch specific youth appropriate shows and then turn it off when it is over.
5. Watch television or movies as a family. If concerning topics or scenes come up during the show, discuss them.
6. Set rules for when technology can be used (i.e., no phones or television during meal times, etc.).
7. Turn off the television when no one is watching it.
8. Increase “unplugged” interactive activities. These include board games and outside play time.
9. Be an example. While it is tempting for adults to unwind with our own technology use or to keep connected at the office by checking emails, it is also important to engage in conversations and experiences with children in order to teach them the communication and social skills needed to be successful in life.
This article was written by Naomi Brower, Utah State University Extension Associate Professor