Parents: Please leave a comment below with your thoughts on this post
Having just read Dr. Eitan Schwarz's 2010 book myself Kids, Parents & Technology: A Guide for Young Families, I felt a strong need to comment on how invaluable I think this title is to any parent with a child growing up in today's digital age.
Dr. S gets right to the point in the preface of the book. He says that we parents need help to manage our kids' usage of technology and we must take a more proactive role in encouraging our children to use it wisely. Organized into three sections: "Setup & Quick Start Guide," "User's Guide," and "Food for Thought," this book is one that I wish I had been sent home with from the hospital after the arrivals of my triplets and their big brother, all four who are now teenagers.
Now, without further adieu, here is Dr. Schwarz's guest post for MommyBlogExpert.com -- I hope you learn as much (or even more) from this than I have.
By Eitan Schwarz, MD, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
|Eitan Schwarz, MD - Photo from My Digital Family|
- Take Charge - Have confidence and take command. You can manage this important area of your kids lives because you have the home-court advantage. Many parents too readily take a back seat and let kids take the lead. Think about it: in what other important areas of life would you normally let that happen?
- Think of Media as Appliances - Start thinking of media as family appliances that must have positive values. Kids treat media as toys, but they are in fact adult tools with enormous power. Would you let your unsupervised young child use the telephone or oven? Only devices with proven benefits belong in children's hands.
- Remember, Technology is Healthy - From infancy onwards, teach your youngster to appreciate technology as a healthy and routine part of family life. Starting young, children will learn that using technology is collaborative and social -- not an isolating solitary activity.
- Include the Whole Family - Create a new environment around the online family computer and other media to promote mutuality, fun, respect, and development for the entire familial group. Moving the home computer away from the wall and arranging seating all around it will make it a popular center for family life for both kids and parents.
- Make Media a Positive Learning Tool - Just as you already shop for healthy food, harvest the positive opportunities offered by media. For every age group there are many wonderful Internet sites, apps, and downloadable software for the home computer that offer a world of learning entertainment experiences.
- Create Healthy Media Plans - Like you do meal plans, tailor media use into daily menus for each child to provide growth opportunities. One way to do this is to regularly require enough online time on activities that actually enhance good values and education enrichment.
About Eitan Schwarz, MD FAACAP DLFAPA