The answer is no. No, you should not feel guilty about giving your child access to technology. Then why you do still feel as if you’re losing perfect parenting points every time you hand over the cellphone? It’s your self-conscious reminding you that our technology dependent society sends us messages that too much technology can have a negative effect on kids.
The key to finding out the appropriate amount of technology is to determine how to incorporate technology in your daily family life. Do you use technology to keep the kids quiet or do you use technology to assist in learning development? You can erase the guilt of whether too much technology is harmful to your child by seeing the positive effects technology has on children and how you are in control as the parent.
Set screen time limits.
This isn’t necessarily a “set it and forget it” strategy until the app turns off or the screen goes dark. Think of it as way that allows for you to set the length of time your child is allowed on the phone. You still need to be aware of what your child is see and doing while on the Internet. The great thing about parental control apps is you set the boundaries on how far your child can use technology. Parental control apps like Kidslox and OurPact are a great place to start to customize screen time. Even the Google Family Link app lets you manage screen time and track their location if you have an older child who has his/her own phone.
It’s the quality and quantity.
When it comes to the quality and quantity of your child’s technology exposure, you can’t have one without the other. You want the type of technology and amount of technology to be equally yoked.
Be selective in technology exposure.
If you’ve never considered yourself to be too picky now is the time to start. When it comes to our children we want them to have the best. In order to put that into action as parents we are the keyholder to what our children are exposed to while on the Internet or watching tv. When you’re making a list of what websites, apps, tv shows, and movies your child is allowed to see don’t make your list too broad because of uncertainty. You will feel a lot better about exposing your child to technology knowing that you hand selected content that parallels your values as a parent. YouTube Kids is a great place to start if you have a little one who loves to watch videos.
Lead by example.
In order to teach a child what to and what not to do, it’s only fair that as the parent you show them the way. Children mimic what they see and if they see you’re always on your phone or watching tv, they’ll follow right in your footsteps. It’s hard to tell a child he/she is spending too much time on the phone if you can’t seem to put yours down. One way you can lead by example is interacting with your child on one of the educational apps or videos you picked out.
Out of sight out of mind.
If you’re one of those parents who prefers to get straight to the point, eliminate the option of having technology as a possible distraction. By using this tactic you can remove the tv out the bedroom, implement a no phone policy at the dinner table, or if your out and about you can try substituting activity books for apps. A 3-year-old watching a video on a cellphone is not a bad thing, but a 3-year-old who knows that if he/she yells loud enough they’ll get the cellphone may be a sign of too much of a good thing.
There is no need to feel guilty for exposing your child to technology. A way to feel better by embracing technology is knowing that you can control how your child uses it. No one has all the answers when it comes to parenthood and kids technology usage is one debate that we can agree we’re torn on. It’s all about figuring out what works best for your family and lifestyle.
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