PARENTS TAKE CONTROL – KIDS AND TECHNOLOGY
Cell Phones, iPads, Air Pods, and Gaming Stations. The list of technology for kids is endless. Anything that you can imagine, can be done and the sky is definitely not the limit. But what do you do when you have invested in technology for your kid’s safety, education and entertainment, only to discover that what you thought was going to be a good thing turns out to be the bane of your very existence?
Today’s kids are connected to their technology. It is always in their hands or their ears or they are facing it for six hours a day at school. Everything is connected. Getting kids to turn off and tune in is becoming increasingly difficult for parents and some have even said their attempts to disconnect their kids is driving them insane. One mother said that she wanted to take her son’s games and slam them to the ground and smash them all. Conversations have been reduced to a series of grunts making many parents wonder if their kids are still able to speak in complete sentences. So, what is going on here…really?
Are there any pros to kids and technology for the family unit?
Do games encourage Conversation?
Pro: For younger kids games provide quality time as parents walk them though simulations or teach them lessons. Older kids can be open to teaching parents how to play their parent-friendly games.
Con: Kids usually want to play with their friends shutting parents out unless parents show continued interests in gaming. Even then some kids don’t want to game with their parents.
Kids can play and share games in groups. Your child may have access to a game(s) you don’t approve of.
Pro: Safety. Unless they don’t answer when you call.
Con: They talk to their friends more, less to you. Getting them to put down the phone is problematic. Texting is distracting and may cause car accidents for older kids. They can receive and send inappropriate data, can bully or be bullied. Most kids know how to hide information that you can’t access unless you are friends with them.
Schools supply computers so these don’t count as personal devices and are closely monitored.
Cell phones are not to be used at school but let’s be real, as long as there is an ear plug, something is attached to it and placing a phone out of the teacher’s sight means those fast texting fingers are possibly at work. Some schools allow kids to use their personal cell phones for assignments during class time.
Everything is out there for Kids to see and they are curious by nature, especially during the ages of eleven and fifteen. They more than likely will type in questions that they should be asking you instead of a computer, opening the floodgates to information, most of which you probably don’t want them to access.
WHAT’S A PARENT TO DO?
Have parents forgotten who they are? Are you really going to give your child a tool that you can’t manage? Here’s a gift for you. Use it wisely and no matter what don’t give in to the temper tantrum that followShut it down. Tell your child that he/she must be device free at the delegated time. They will get off, but once they think you are out of eye/ear shot they will pick it up again. You’re the parent. Do what you need to do to make sure they are following your directions. Removing devices each night and putting them in your room ensures that they will not be used. Excuse number one will be “I need it to set my alarm for school in the morning.” Remember when you were the alarm? A little inconvenience is worth the end result.
- Don’t hesitate to unplug them. No need to tell your child to do things three and four times. Simply tell them once that you are going to unplug the device if they are not doing what you have asked them to do. If they do not stop, walk over and take or unplug the device. Having devices is a privilege and they can only have them if they respect the rules.
- For smaller children set a timer for how long they can be on their devices. Both younger and older children need interaction. Make them go outside to meet with friends. Sign them up for sports or other activities and set chores for them to complete at home. It is important that they do not forget the art of conversation and stay atop of their social skills.
- Plan Family time and tell them they must participate. Pre-teens and Teens act as though they don’t want to comply but usually enjoy the time once they are in it. Call it Mandatory Family Time and explain to them what you are trying to accomplish. They will listen, because even though they won’t show it, they are always listening.
- Place Parental Controls on everything that you can and use them. You don’t want your child to feel like they are on lockdown but may need to use them if you find your child is not respecting your rules.
- Activate the tracking device on your child’s phone so that you can check and make sure they are where they are supposed to be. In a world where there is no privacy you have to protect your child from others that might mislead them.
- Finally, get your child’s passwords so that you can go through their phones/devices spontaneously. You have a right to know what your child is doing on the devices you bought and pay for. Good Luck!!!!
Remember, you are the parent and just like you didn’t like it when your parents placed restrictions on you, as an adult you realized they did it for a good reason and for the most part you were glad they did.
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