For any parent, the conundrum of balancing boredom with tech is can be a tricky one.
Whether your child is into Roblox, Minecraft, TikTok or some other game or app, balancing the time they spend on phones, ipads and Xboxes can be one of the biggest parenting challenges.
Here are four suggestions to help…
Determine tech limits together and set a good example.
- Unless your child's bedroom is the only quiet place for older children to complete schoolwork, keep screens out of the bedroom.
- Set a time when screen use can begin for the day and set an end time to screen exposure a few hours before bedtime.
- Create a visual schedule so that children can see when devices need to be turned off throughout the day.
- Together, map out a plan for daily schoolwork and downtime.
Balance passive screen use with more active options.
- Watching high-quality programming is fine, but kids can do lots of other things with screens.
- Investigate drawing programs, ways to make their own movies, have a dance party, listen to audiobooks, play interactive games, or learn a new skill.
- Use technology to connect with friends and family members – perhaps arrange zoom/skype/facetime calls with family or friends who live out of town.
Be aware of what children are watching and doing during screen time.
- Set limits on what's okay and what's not.
- Keep electronics in a common area where they can also be charged overnight.
- Consider flexibility when they are on with other friends but reducing solo-screen time.
Acknowledge the emotions behind increased screen time.
- Children (and adults) are using screens for practical reasons related to school and work.
- They are also using screens to connect with their friends via social media and online gaming.
- Both children and adults use screens as a diversion from stress or busy schedules - some may watch TikTok to zone out – while other scroll through Facebook or Instagram. Recognising this but setting time limits can help manage this.