Kids & Electronics: Dos and Don’ts

Shantie Toolsie  | September 10, 2019

In this new age of constantly changing technology, it’s easy for our kids to instantly access a world of information. In fact, many schools use tablets as part of kids’ daily curriculum, and kids as young as 11 have smartphones. Many parents might be wondering how to keep their kids safe when using technology. Here are a few pointers for parents when it comes to kids and electronics.

Dos:

1. Discuss Safety

The first thing you can do to help your kids is make sure they know what NOT to do online. Talk to them about the risks of talking to strangers, giving out information, or posting pictures. Make sure you have their passwords and if their device has a “child mode,” use it. Making sure they are aware of the dangers of the web will help them develop good tech habits later on.

2. Limit Time

Kids shouldn’t spend too much time on electronic devices. Limit cell phone, tablet, and computer time to small chunks, and never more than an hour per day. Use blue light filter settings to protect their eyes, and make sure they’re taking breaks from screen staring. Set “no phone” zones, like at the dinner table and in the bedroom.

3. Set an Example

If you want your kids to develop good device habits, you need to have them too! Don’t be on your phone constantly when you’re spending time with them, helping with homework, or watching a movie. Challenge yourself to limit your screen time, too.

Don’ts:

1. Download Apps by Themselves

There are plenty of time-wasting apps out there that kids are better off without. Plus, be wary of social media apps like Snapchat. These can get kids into trouble quickly. Have them always ask permission before downloading an app to their device, and make sure you check out the parental rating before you download. Here are some fun and safe apps for kids.

2. Add Contacts

Before you let your child add phone contacts, be sure you know who they are adding. If they have a phone for emergency purposes, those are the only numbers that should be available to them. Once they get older and start to make more friends, discuss safety when adding anyone online or in their phone contacts.

3. Use Electronics Before Bed

This one goes for everyone. Studies have shown electronic use before bed can disrupt sleep. Not only does the content over-stimulate the mind, but the light from electronic screens can also be bad for your eyes. Try to discourage kids from using screens before bed by getting them books to read or to color.

We hope these tips help you and your child develop smarter device habits. It takes practice to not be addicted to our phones and computers, but a little mindfulness goes a long way!

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