How I Got My Kids Technology Use Under Control
As a mom there are so many things to worry and think about throughout the day. Things like are the lunches packed, is homework done and are my kids spending too much time on technology. All three of my girls spend too much time playing on their tablets and devices.
Two of my concerns when it comes to technology and my kids are:
Are they spending too much time on their devices?
Are they safe online?
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So this was my situation:
I have three daughters that all love their electronic devices. My twelve-year-old uses her phone and computer way too much. On her phone she texts and uses apps such as Musically and Instagram. Her computer time is mostly used looking at clothes and slime recipes online and playing either The Sims and Minecraft. For the time being I feel like we’ve got her online safety under control.
My seven-year old is a different story though. Her favorite device is her iPad. Unfortunately she loves YouTube which isn’t a great idea for kids because of the wide variety of things that can be seen. We have made the switch to Kids You Tube recently which I feel keeps the content under control somewhat.
I also have a two-year old that knows how to work the iPad. She watches kids YouTube and PBS Kids. I’m amazed that kids learn to use iPads and tablets at such a young age!
My concerns for my kids technology use:
With my twelve-year-old my main concerns are making sure she knows what’s appropriate to post and view, the amount of time spent on technology and making sure that she know that her phone and computer are a privilege.
I’m most concerned about the amount of time and content with my seven-year old. I would also like her to know that her iPad is a privilege.
My main concern with my two-year old is the amount of time she spends on the iPad.
How did I solve the problem?
I was recently introduced to Boys Town. Their mission is to change how the world cares for children, families and communities. Boys Town spends a lot of time working with parents and their children in a variety of ways. One way they are helping families out is an amazing email series. One of the email series covers Kids and Technology, this is what changed our families technology use.
During this email series I was given a teaching activity and social skill in each email for five weeks. In the first email I was told to take stock of our electronic devices and how each child was using them. For me this was an eye-opening activity. It was super helpful to have it all written out and be able to evaluate how my kids were using technology. From this list I made my decision as to what I wanted to address for each child.
My other favorite section of the email series was setting limits and expectations for kids online. This was super helpful to me because my girls seem to think that they can use their devices anytime they want for as long as they want. During this activity we established “down times” where all the devices had to be put away and plugged in. I made a list with my two oldest daughters of things that they could do during these “down times”. My older daughters also helped make a list of things my two-year old could do during these times.
In our house, dinner time has always been a “down time”. My husband and I don’t have our phones at the table and my kids put their devices away. This gives us time to communicate as a family and talk about our day. Two times we added to the “down time” list were after school and weekend afternoons. Instead of heading right for their devices after school they have a snack and get homework done for the day. On the weekends we try to spend time as a family during “down time”, if we don’t have a family activity planned we try to encourage creative play and outside time.
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The change I saw in my kids and family as a whole was amazing. At first my kids protested of course but once they got in the groove things went smoothly. We spent tons of time outside as a family swinging and playing on the trampoline. My twelve-year-old decided that she wanted to open a slime shop in the future and spent hours planning her store and brainstorming. My younger two daughters and I spent our time coloring and reading.
After taking part in the Boys Town email series I would highly recommend it to parents that want to improve any area of their family. They cover topics like bullying, toddler tantrums, success in school and more. Boys Town is there to help with any parenting issues you may have.
Written by: Devon Bernthal
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