by Jeff Erwin
Don't Turn Your Child's Screen Time into Scream Time
We are culturally obsessed with digital devices. It’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing down, with many toddlers today knowing their way around a smartphone or tablet with mastery.
|Digital Parenting Tips|
In a recent survey we conducted at Intego which focused on Internet security, 49 percent of parents said their child’s use of a mobile device interferes with bedtime, schoolwork or mealtime. And 27 percent of parents said limiting screen time is a losing battle. Yikes!
But the good news is, by implementing some of my favorite tips below, I believe parents can turn the tide of this technology tsunami by easily and more efficiently managing their children’s screen time—while still allowing kids to experience and benefit from mobile technology.
- Have a family meeting to discuss online safety and Internet-usage rules. Use these meetings as a way to establish household screen time boundaries. Start the meeting by having family members calculate the amount of screen time they spend on games, phones and TV. It’s important that the entire family undertake this initiative Leading by example will go a long way toward encouraging children to play along.
- Establish screen-free zones in your household where no technology is permitted. These zones could be in places where the family normally interacts—around the dining room table, for example.
- Treat the online world just like the real world. There are important rules kids are often already aware of in the physical world that they need to know also apply to the online world and their mobile devices. Don't interact with strangers. Keep personal information private. Be polite and respectful of others. Most important encourage your child to always tell you or a trusted adult it they encounter anything that scares them or makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Parents can also can also set limits on technology usage. This is tricky, because homework often requires Internet access. But parents can establish the 9 p.m. turn off rule during the week, where all digital technology is turned off in favor of reading, sleeping or other non-tech activities.
- You can’t be everywhere all the time, so once household rules have been established, we recommend a parental control solution such as Intego’s Family Protector to help you monitor web usage, and restrict digital purchases of apps and games.
Family Protector is the only parental control app for iOS that combines mobile device management with the ability to set screen time limits, send lock screen messages, freeze the device on demand and apply age-based web restrictions. Family Protector is affordable and easy to use. Family Protector is available for a $5 monthly subscription. Visit Intego's site for more information.
About the Author
Jeff Erwin has been a startup founder and CEO in the tech and software industry for more than 30 years. He and his wife have three children who grew up as the Internet and video games began to capture the interests of tweens and teens. Jeff currently serves as CEO of Intego, a leading provider of Mac security software and makers of parental controls.
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