Today, kids watch their parents absorbed by technology much of the time. Some screen habits are addictive and unhealthy, so it is important to set a good example by being a positive technology role model.
From spending too much time on social media to binge-watching television shows and gaming, screen time can be detrimental. Recognizing and correcting these bad digital habits can help you and your kids become responsible technology users.
Talk to Your Children About Their Technology Use
In order to be a good role model for your kids, you should be open and talk to them about their technology use. If you’ve never talked to your kids about the reasons behind why they use technology, it may be time to get started.
Regardless of whether they are using technology in a healthy way or not, there are certain vulnerabilities involved in being online. From spammers to scammers, there are many sites that parents should block to keep children safe from malicious online activities.
It is also important to ask children the right questions about social media use. Some questions include:
- Which social media apps are they using?
- Do they know all of the people they interact with online?
- Are they aware of the responsibilities that come with being a good digital citizen?
Bringing up discussions about technology in your household may make every family member reflect about their own time online. You could even pave the way for some input from your kids, make decisions together, and set healthy boundaries when it comes to technology use.
Set an Example for Kids to Follow
If your kids see you using technology at all hours of the day, they will likely think that this is normal behavior. If you are known for never putting your phone down (even while having a conversation), or using your tablet while eating, they might pick up the habit. The next time you warn them about their technology habits, take a moment to think about your own.
If they see you overusing technology, you are giving them the OK to do the same. While it is fun to watch your favorite TV shows all weekend, there are reasons why binge-watching can be damaging to your health.
It’s important to know the line between positive technology use and excessive use. Setting a positive example for your children to follow and calling yourself out every time you are tempted to use technology in an unhealthy way will make you a good digital role model.
Follow the Rules You Set
If you and your kids are finding it difficult to stay away from your devices, you need to set some ground rules. If making up a rule about cutting down on screen time at certain hours of the day is what it takes, then make sure you also follow this rule.
Likewise, turning devices off at night, unplugging the Wi-Fi for a portion of the day, and limiting gaming to only a few hours on weekends could do you and your kids a world of good. The best way to show your kids boundaries when it comes to technology is by putting rules in place and showing them that you can follow them yourself.
If your kids are addicted to gaming, for example, it may be time to consider helping them swap their indoor activities to outdoor activities. Too much screen time can take a toll on their eyesight and overall wellness.
Find things that they enjoy doing outdoors and set time for it so that they can get plenty of exercise and vitamin D. And spend that time with them! By showing your kids that there is a world out there and that it’s quite different from—but just as fun as—the world they see on their devices, you’ll get them to enjoy the world for themselves.
Ensure That Some Tech-Time Is Dedicated to Education
Not all screen time is bad, and it doesn’t have to be dedicated solely to entertainment. In fact, there are many websites and apps that actually promote wellness and can improve cognitive function.
From educational websites that teach kids about nutrition, to sites and games that teach kids how to type, you are bound to find something that interests your children while also teaching them. By reaping the benefits of the technology that is available to you, it is easy to turn mindless screen time into something useful.
Show Them It’s OK to Leave Their Phone Behind
If the thought of losing or misplacing your phone is enough to give you nightmares, chances are that you might be taking technology a little too seriously. Or if you are working from home and are finding it difficult to separate work time from family time, you might need to balance your time more effectively.
Show your kids that being without a device is not the end of the world. Try putting your phone away—locking it away if you have to—or creating a boundary between online time and offline time to show your kids that it’s OK not to have your phone on you at all times. You might even find that it’s better.
Luckily, there is a variety of software out there to assist you as you try to set a good example of technology use for your kids. For example, some social media channels have settings in place which can help you limit your screen time.
If you or your kids are spending too much time scrolling through videos and it’s concerning you, you can limit your time on TikTok by using the settings right in the app. You can also restrict your time on Instagram in similar ways.
Show Your Kids a Healthy Relationship to Technology
As the saying goes, “You can’t just talk the talk, you need to walk the walk.” Instead of simply telling your kids they’re spending too much time on social media or in the gaming chair, you need to show them what healthy habits look like.
It’s important to demonstrate what you expect from them with your own behavior, and that starts with being aware of your screen time habits. Ask yourself if you are setting a good example for your kids, and use these tips to show them how to be a responsible technology user by being one yourself.