While iPads, smartphones, and other devices can conceivably be educational, they often hinder children’s ability to learn how to read, write, and spell. Young children often learn how to use smartphones and touchpad devices before they are able to learn how to write with a pencil. Some parents don’t spend time reading to their children and use technology as a way to distract and entertain their kids. Technology can be a welcome addition to the home, but it should be used in moderation.
Watch Your Behaviors
It’s important to remember that children will mimic their parents’ behavior. If you are always on your smartphone or playing on the iPad, your kids will want to do the same thing. Be mindful of your technology behaviors and make it a priority to spend quality time with your kids. To show your kids that they are more important than technology, do not use your phone or other devices during dinner or when you are outside playing with your kids. Be mindful of them watching you, and make sure you are focused on engaging with them.
If you have school-aged children that know how to read and write, there is a good chance they already play video games and enjoy watching movies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children spend less than 2 hours watching television each day. You need to make sure you are setting limits on how much time your kids can watch TV and play with their devices. There are some apps and other programs that do help children learn, but you want to minimize how long your kids use computers.
Set rules on their use of technology and focus on engaging with your kids. Several devices come with timer programs that allow children to know when they need to stop using them. This can help parents avoid a frustrating struggle to get their kids to put down the iPad and go outside to play. If you have kids that fight you or whine about stopping their playing time, it might be a good idea to consider taking away all technology for a week to show them how much fun they can have without being dependent upon technology.
Learning to Think
Sometimes, the hardest kids to talk to are teenagers. They love to use their smartphones, which can be an expensive problem for parents. It is important that you understand what your teen is doing on social media and other sites. You need to remind them of the importance of privacy and discretion. Teach your teen to learn how to think about social media by talking about their texting behaviors: Have they ever sent out a message they regretted? Did they ever become bullied or offended by text messages and social media posts? The goal is to help teens learn how to establish socially appropriate behaviors when they use their phone. Teens still look towards their parents for social guidelines, so if you are texting during dinner, or if you keep your phone on during a movie, they are likely to do the same.
Byline: Alysha Linton purchases all technology for her family from Kensington.com at affordable prices.