Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How to Set Kids Digital Boundaries - 5 Must-Know Parenting Tips


Guest Post 

by Jeff Erwin 
CEO, Intego 

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
As CEO of a technology company, I know I should be thrilled at our fascination with anything streaming. But I’m also a father of three kids which means I know what happens when it’s time for children to put down the electronics in favor of mealtime, bedtime or any other family activity that doesn’t involve a keypad. Today, many parents are struggling with managing their children’s screen time—so that it doesn’t devolve into scream time.

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. 
When it comes to technology, parents and children should understand the value of moderation. Technology, when used appropriately, is a great way for children to communicate and explore the world. But key to this exploration is parental management of digital devices to ensure that children are still achieving balance between “real world” and screen time.

About Intego
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. 

FTC Disclosure: Intego provided all the content and images for this story. However, no payment or other compensation was exchanged in connection with this post. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's home page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.


  1. It is definitely important to go over the rules ahead of time. AND keep reminding them :)

  2. We always set timers during tablet free time and never allow electronics at the dinner table. My kids despise the technology rules we have set up for them but still understand there is more to life than games and apps.

  3. These are perfect tips! Honestly our kids can easily get overwhelmed with the amount of screen time they are exposed to. Our kids LOVE their electronics, but seriously they over do it all the time.

    We have screen free zones, like the family dinner table. And Sundays is a full day of no electronics. We also set limits as to how much time our kids are allowed to spend on tablets/phones, etc. It really makes a difference in their behavior and how they treat each other too.

  4. Great tips. This is a such a new challenge and it seems to keep evolving!

  5. We monitor all websites my kids go on. You just never know what they come across. I'm pretty lucky that my dad is a systems administrator so he knows everything about computer security.

  6. These are great tips concerning our children and the usage of electronics. With so many way to prevent kids for overusing them it should never be a losing battle.

  7. These are great tips!! I am always setting timers for the kids time on electronics I worry about to much screen time for them.

  8. I need to start enforcing boundaries with my 3 year old. He has 3 tablets and throws a fit when none of them are charged or I take one away. It works for punishment, which is great, but I don't want him to be too dependent on electronics.

  9. Nice tips! This serves as a boundary for them to limit their used. Especially now a days that kids really loves electronic devices, very helpful tips.

  10. Having rules in place is always important! My children know the boundaries they have and, for the most part, obey by them!

  11. I totally agree about treating the online world like the real world. In today's time, it is the real would and will become even more so.

  12. I have just started giving my three kids screen time each day. They play with their LeapPads and such after homework.

  13. I love the idea of a screen free zone. That is perfect for family game night or at meals.