When it comes to parenting, living in a highly digitalized world has given rise to new problems and challenges. One of these problems is technology overuse which can have a profoundly negative impact on children’s physical and mental health. A 2006 study revealed that too much screen time leads to lower physical activity and higher BMI. And this is just one of the many downfalls of technology overuse. Recently, NPR published a short and insightful guide for parents who want to limit their kids’ screen time. It seems that the very technology that generated this problem can also provide a solution.
Use Technology to Fight Technology Overuse
Since technology overuse is a serious issue, many of today’s digital giants have begun developing software to help parents limit their children’s screen time. For iOS devices, you can use Apple’s Screen Time and Parental Controls. These tools allow you not only to limit technology overuse but also monitor your child’s online behavior and preferences.
For Android devices, you can use Family Link, although it’s not designed to control PC use. If you’re looking for something that will give you control over all devices, try Torch, Circle, or unglue. They may be a bit more complicated to use, but it’s worth the effort.
Help Your Child Understand the Reason Behind Rules
As parents, we often rush to enforce strict rules that we believe we curb our children’s technology overuse. Before you limit your children’s technology overuse, make sure they understand the reasons behind your decision.
“If you unilaterally just go in and set limits without talking to your child, you’re going to incentivize your child to work around those limits, because they’re not bought into that contract.” -Kurt Beidler, General Manager at Amazon Kids and Family
Turn Screen Time into a Reward
Since digital devices are a powerful motivator for your children, you can turn screen time into a reward.
First, make a list of house chores suited for their age. The completion of each task will unlock a limited interval of screen time. For example, ten minutes of screen time for taking out the trash. Using screen time as a reward will not only curb technology overuse but also cultivate responsibility and discipline.
If your child is struggling and you don’t know where to turn, contact us today.