Friday, December 20, 2019

Be The Firewall! Stopping Your Children Going Online So Much

As our children get older we start to think about how their life skills can be developed and expanded. But there seems to be that one little device that gets in the way. The computer, the tablet, the television, whatever it is, that screen seems to be the barrier between us and giving them the ability to develop their lives. But are the aspects of it that we can control? When our children go online, they could easily get suckered down a rabbit hole, and it takes their entire day away from them. And we can do the cliched thing and tell them to get out more but we know that we're fighting a losing battle. Is there any way for us to stop our children getting online or at least minimize screen time?

The Numerous Tools
You don't want to be a forceful parent, but if you have concerns that they are spending too much time online, think about limiting their screen time with specific tools. As we begin to look at what our children do when they go online, especially now that there are so many things that we may not want our children looking at, this is when we should get the right tools in place. There are numerous items of software that we can use, but we can also make sure that we are uninstalling apps on their tablets, limiting screen time with those tools, but also getting into that healthy habit of making sure that they don't have the tablet around. But the hard thing is getting started. If it has got to the point where they are always on a tablet or computer, it can prove to be harder. But this is when we have to make sure that we set the example.

Be The Parent
As our children will forever follow the blueprint that we set, we have to remember that we are the parent and we are in charge. If our children have been on their devices for what seems like years, we have a big battle on our hands, but we have to stick our heels in. It's important to prepare yourself for confrontation, but also remember to set the example. If you are someone who is always on their phone, you can't be surprised when your children ask for a phone for their birthday. If we are to set the example, we have to limit the screen time ourselves. And this is easier said than done, especially when we are all in that habit. But we can't be hypocritical if we are trying to minimize our children’s screen time when we don't do it ourselves.

The Distraction Method
We can try to guide them towards different activities, but it can take some time. The big trick to giving up any sort of addiction, whether it's television or the internet or their tablets is to slowly reduce their intake. As we start to turn the dial down gradually, it won't seem as much of a shock to the system. This means that we can start to replace the need for devices with something else. You can certainly choose to go cold turkey but it could have a very negative effect. It's all down to you, but you have to remember that if you choose to completely remove everything, you've got to get rid of the television, and you've got to make sure that you all stick to it. Again, it's about being that hypocritical parent. Nobody wants to tell her child "because I said so" when they ask why they can't use their tablet. As parents we have to set the example, but if we don't want to completely get rid of a device from our children's lives, minimizing it gradually is the best approach. That way, you can get it down to a healthy amount, and you can better enforce screen time.

Make Note Of Your Child's Behavioral Changes
Why do you want to minimize their screen time? It's important to note if there have been changes in behavior and if excessive screen time is the culprit. Now there's a lot of evidence to suggest that screen time before going to sleep has a detrimental effect on anybody's sleep. We can install things like blue light filters, but if our children are tired the next day because they've been up playing games on their tablets, then we have to make drastic alterations. Make sure you take note of your child's behavioral changes, and if they get irritable, aggressive, we have to be on the lookout for these things.

Start To Make Positive Replacements For Devices
Our children may spend time on their devices because we don't spend time with them. If there's a reason they are constantly doing something that's not engaging or developing themselves, we have got to ask ourselves if we are the root cause. If we go back in time and remember that we gave our children a tablet to watch something because we needed five minutes of peace, we've seen the effects snowball overtime. If so, then it's important but we address our effects on our children as well. This means that we should focus on spending more time with them. And everybody knows how difficult it is to do this now, but if our children are forever on their devices when we’re sat around the dinner table, or even sat in the same room, it might be time to think about activities that you can all do as a family.

There is no denying that the internet is incredibly useful, but there's got to be limits. Some people feel that there is no problem with their children going online, playing games or watching TV as much as humanly possible. But we've all got to set limits, because there is a big wide world out there, and if we are constantly glued to our devices are we really going to get the benefit of quality time together? It's worth thinking about this if you have concerns. 

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