As we limp along the end of school year finish line, both parents and kids are looking forward to summer break. Kids are looking forward to freedom from rigorous schedules and more time to play. Debates about summer camps, how many friends are acceptable to have over at one time, curfews, bed times, and technology use have already begun. But of all these discussions, it seems technology time management tends to be the most anxiety-provoking topic of conversation for parents and kids alike.
Before we get into the merits of how much tech is too much, I think it’s important to state that we think overall, technology is a good thing. Today, as I sat at my Kindergartners award ceremony, the principal reminded us all to continue logging onto the school’s online learning tools in addition to hands-on activities this summer in an effort to prevent summer brain drain.
For children of certain ages, technology allows them to continue relationships with friends who, for one reason or another, they aren’t able to connect with face to face over the summer. Maintaining social connections over the course of a summer provides one less worry as students enter the new school year in the fall. Banning technology completely would only serve to breed resentment and it fails to address the real issue that all of us (parents and children alike) face: managing and moderating our time spent with technology.
Do what works for your family
One of the best ways to create effective technology time management is to set ground rules right out of the gate. Keep them printed as a visual aid in a high-traffic area of the home. Depending on the age of your children, your technology ground rules may differ. Here are a few basics that are good for everyone to follow – parents included!
- No devices during meal times
- No devices during scheduled family activities (game night, movie night, etc)
- No devices at bed time
- Time allowance for technology for each day (Tip: Try setting different time limits for educational vs recreational tech)
By providing a predetermined time allowance for technology it cuts down on the number of arguments about exactly how much screen time is necessary. Another variation of setting time limits is only making tech available during certain time periods. Parental control applications like OurPact give parents the ability to block internet and apps at a touch or through a daily time schedule.
For instance, say that you decide to manage your child’s free time by allowing technology from 12-2pm each day. OurPact allows you to lock down any Desktop, Android or iOS device until the 12-2pm time frame. Or perhaps your manage your child’s technology time by limiting when they can’t be on. You can choose to lock the device at bed time, dinner time, lunch, etc.
By turning the narrative to healthy technology management, and away from using technology as a form of reward/punishment, we’re helping our children develop the tools necessary to develop healthy relationships with their tech. But remember, we need to lead by example! When our kids put down the tech, we should too. Take those opportunities to engage, bond and creating lasting memories instead.
For more ideas, try these 10 ways to unplug your family from technology this summer.
This post is written on behalf of OurPact by me. All opinions remain my own.