While the use of social media is considered beneficial and can enhance social connectedness, too much time online can be harmful to children and teens. OnBundock has put together some tips to improve your child’s online use.
Tips to improve use:
Monitor the amount of time your child spends online. The amount spent on social media should be limited from one to one and a half hours. Research has shown that 2 hours or more can contribute to anxiety and unhappiness in teenagers. Ensure that your child has other activities to feel occupied such as sports, family and friend activities, music lessons and hobbies.
Keep communication open and inviting. Ask questions about their time online and any concerns they have. It is important that they feel that they can talk to you with any uncertainties.
Encourage online time together. Incorporate quality time with your child by engaging in online time with one another. This might involve playing games and exploring content together.
Ensure your child isn’t replacing face-to-face interaction with online socialising. Online socialising takes the form of online messenger apps and sometimes through online games. Suggest and encourage social outings with their friends to make sure they develop imperative face-to-face social skills.
Set boundaries: Cultivate good technology habits for life by setting expectations regarding phone and/or computer use at home. Some ideas might include no phone use during meal times at the table, no Internet past 8pm, scheduled ‘tech free time’ in the afternoon for other activities, etc.
Ensure technology does not interfere with sleep: The blue light from your devices screen stops melatonin production, which aids in sleep. To have a good night sleep, it might be a good idea to put the devices away at least two hours before bedtime. Many families now have devices left in a basket outside of the bedroom.
Keep up to date with online trends: Sometimes it can be difficult for parents to keep up with current online trends. Keeping an eye out in the media and speaking with other parents is a great way to stay in the loop.
Embrace boredom: Teach your child to embrace boredom without the tech. Try not to be tempted to pick up the phone when overcome with boredom. This includes waiting in lines at the grocery store, bank or at the hair salon. Occasional boredom can inspire creativity and lead to taking action.
Lead by example. Your child learns to navigate the world through your actions. While it might be important to check those emails or take that phone call at home, make sure it doesn’t interrupt time spent with your child too often. It is now highly recommended that everyone has a technology detox periodically.
Technology is becoming increasingly important in our everyday lives, which makes it that much harder to put down. Ensure you are making the most of it to enhance your child’s learning and social skills. Moderation is vital!