Technology And Parenting: The Modern Balancing Act

Most children these days, given half a chance would spend every moment of every waking hour sitting in front of a screen. Whether it is time spent watching TV, playing video games, or using a phone or tablet; technology rules supreme in the homes of many families these days. It can be a real headache for many parents to manage the problem. On the one hand, technology may be something that stimulates your child and keeps them quiet. It can be useful to give you a bit of breathing space because it can be hard being a parent. Running around after your kids all day long while working, and managing the home is enough to wear anyone out. If the kids are quietly playing on their tech devices it can give you some much-needed respite. Put like that, who could blame you. But, whatever your view on technology, you should be aware that there are a number of problems that can come from the overuse of technology. These can start at a change in the mood of your child and can range right up to addiction, and a number of psychological problems. It is important to realize that too much screen time can cause problems for anyone, but for a young mind, it can get too much and may well affect them in a negative way. 

Technology And Learning
Technology is amazing. We have a world of knowledge at our fingertips. There are apps that can do anything that we want them to do. Smartphones have changed the face of the world. And, whether you think that we all spend too much time with our heads buried in them, it is indisputable how many ways they have improved the lives of so many people. Having access to devices such as phones and tablets is important for your children’s learning and development. With many learning apps that your child could use, it is important to know why mobile phones are important for education. If you want to use your tablet or phone as a teaching aid, find some great apps that will help to develop their knowledge in the areas that will support their current school subjects. Chat with your children regularly and find out what they are being taught in school. Then, find and install relevant apps that will help them with their class. Of course, there are some problems that arise when using technology as a learning aid. There is the potential for the child to get distracted when using the lesson app. You may find that they sneak over to games or social media apps instead of working. This can be problematic to say the least. Too much of an exposure to technology can mean that they are unable to concentrate or engage in other things. 

Developing Life Skills Using Technology
At the moment, there are very few jobs out there that don’t have any kind of access to technology. You may find that you are always using computers or tablets for work, and more and more people are using apps on smartphones in the workplace. The fact of the matter is that technology is here to stay. With this in mind, you should encourage the use of technology so that your children learn the vital life skills that they will need throughout their education and into their professional lives. Another useful area around technology that your children should maybe development, is that of self-control. The ability to switch a device off once they have done what they need to do will help to keep your kids in good habits. They will be less prone to procrastination and be more productive. Getting your kids to get good habits around this important aspect of technology use is vital for their ongoing development. 

Setting Ground Rules And Teaching The Dangers Of Technology
There are a number of problems that can stem from your children using technology. Their mental health should, of course, be a major concern, as should their safety if and when they are online. Setting ground rules is important as it determines what you deem to be appropriate behaviour. You may want to set a limit to the amount of time that your children can spend online or on devices. You could think about the types of websites or games that you think are okay for them to use, and set an approved list. Then, if they want to add new sites or games to the list, they will need you to approve them. Informing your children about the dangers of predators online is a good idea. While you don’t want to scare your child, it is important that they are aware of the things that they should look out for. If your children are playing online games with a chat function, see if it is possible to disable this option. If your children are using social media, have them add you as a friend and monitor the things that they are posting, along with their friends. Talk to them in a frank way about how they should behave online, and the types of things that they should avoid. Use parental controls on your router so that safe browsing is in place. That way, they will be unlikely to come in contact with inappropriate adult content. 

Creating A Family Technology Use Pact
If you are someone that spends a lot of time online too, then it can seem somewhat hypocritical of you to start dictating rules to your children that you do not adhere to yourself. With this in mind, you should create a pact with the entire family surrounding your use of technology, gaming, and social media. Make sure there are clear boundaries that you can all adhere too, and be sure that you always meet them yourself. If you are having to break the rules that you set, it can send confusing messages to your kids, and it may well ultimately lead to them breaking rules themselves. Find time to spend as a family. If you want to engage with each other in a positive way, then you can do this over a board game, or by going out as a family for the day. Quality time can help to keep you engaged with each other, and can reverse the negative effects of too much social media and technology use, meaning you will all be healthier and happier for it. 

Finding The Right Balance 
Getting the right balance of your child’s safety and security may take some consideration and negotiation. Not only will you need to barter with your children when it comes to implementing these rules, but you may also need to try several options and combinations of boundaries before you get the balance right. Check-in with your family throughout the process of changing the way that you deal with technology and social media. Find out how everyone is feeling about it all, and take on board their feelings. They may well have some constructive feedback or concerns that are valid which you should try and deal with. If your children have been using technology without any restrictions it can take a while to adjust, and they may feel as though they are having change forced upon them. Make sure you honest with them throughout the entire process and be as positive as possible. If they understand your thinking then they may be less inclined to try and continually challenge or test it.

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