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Posted on January 10, 2017 by in Children & Families, Personal

Gone are the days when kids were happy with puzzles, necklace kits, and transistor radios for Christmas gifts. Today’s kids expect tech related gadgets that connect them to the world.

And with that connection comes risks:

  • Excess time spent using these gadgets including, smartphones
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Obesity
  • Depression from cyberbullying
  • Disconnection of kids from family and relatives
  • Computer being used as a surrogate parent to keep kids occupied

Here are some ideas on technology and kids and how to manage their usage:

Create Dates with Your Child

Each child gets a date night with the parents to keep good ol’ fashioned companionship alive and to “disconnect” for a few hours.

Creative Rules

The first child to reach for their cell phone at the dinner table must clear the table and clean all the dishes. If it’s already their night to do this, then the phone will be confiscated for 24 hours.

Restrictions

  • When you decide to get your child a smartphone, they must first agree to give you their password and username, knowing that you will randomly audit their phones from time to time.
  • They must agree that you will periodically check their social media posts (and have usernames and passwords for those, too).
  • Limit Internet usage to schoolwork, except on weekends, or some other such rule.
  • Devices should be turned off within a specified period of time preceding bedtime. If you must, confiscate, hide the devices at night, or lock them up. Or have a “tech basket” in which, by a specified time each night, all the kids must deposit their devices until the next morning.
  • Limit device usage while your kids are in the car. Part of eventually becoming a good driver is to learn what goes on on the roads while kids get driven around, such as how Dad evaded a vehicle that suddenly pulled out in front of him. Of course if kids don’t have devices in the car, this doesn’t guarantee they’ll be paying attention to the road, but it sure opens up this possibility for at least some of the ride.
  • Don’t text and drive, as this sets a dangerous example.
  • Get your kids involved in sports.
  • Mandate family time for things like board games, hiking, bike riding, rock-wall climbing, bowling, making pizza, etc. Phone use is banned during these times.

Some of this might seem harsh. And some of it might seem impossible. But it’s all actually quite feasible and frankly, it’s all good parenting and may prevent child identity theft. Just the other evening my child, who is 11, was trying to connect with her friend on Skype. My daddy response to this activity was “what are you doing?” She told me and my response was, “Why? And ask me next time you desire to do this and don’t make a habit of it.”

It’s pretty simple actually, we as parents control the information flow, we control the devices; not them.

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