Could too much tech time lead to unruly behavior or even worse with your child?
An Iowa teen recently ran away from home when his parents took away his cellphone.
As reported by most major outlets the 13-year-old was found dead some five days later.
While no one will ever know what truly caused the death of this child, and several issues could have impacted his behavior, taking away his cellphone was certainly a contributing factor to an argument between the child and his parents.
Today many youngsters are becoming addicted to their tech devices at an early age. Many parents are giving their kids iPads and tablets at age 2, some even younger.
Studies are beginning to appear indicating the problems associated with tech addiction.
Too much device time can lead to a slow development of social skills and a lack of communication. It can have long term physical effects too with brain development and related issues.
Here are five helpful hints to reduce tech dependency and increase healthy conversations.
1. Give very young children blocks and toys, not devices. The best toys will engage a child’s senses, spark their imaginations and encourage them to interact with others. As they grow, infants can use toys to explore object permanence and cause and effect relationships. They also need objects such as blocks to help build motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
2. Parents need to put their devices away and set a good example. Society demands can be rugged but mom and dad need to stay off their devices and talk to their kids. Create device free times around dinner and later. Engage with your kids by playing board games and other activities that encourage conversation. Work related messages can always be answered after the children have gone to bed.
3. Consider giving your child/teenager a flip phone rather than a smartphone. A flip phone encourages more conversations, and discourages internet access and app use. If you must provide your child with a phone because you don’t have a land line, and your child stays home alone, or you need to pick your child up from school or practice and need to be able to communicate, a flip phone will suffice.
4 Maintain “device boundaries” between your child and their friends so it does not dominate their life. When you schedule playdates, sleepovers, and social outings… ask the parent what their device policy is and respect it. Don’t allow your child to bring their device to a friend’s house if that family has a device free policy. If you must reach your child, obtain the parent phone number to contact your child.
5. Learn how to limit screen time and block content. If you have concerns about technology, but not to the point where you feel it must be taken away all together, educate yourself on the best products on the market to block content, enforce screen time limits, etc. Some good apps for this are Circle, and Bark.