8 Things Every Child Needs to Know About Screen Time Before They Leave Home
Jul 01, 2020
What does “kids using technology in healthy ways” look like? The tech we use today is so new that even this has not been clearly defined, leaving parents feeling lost in this area of home life. Why? Because parents need something to aim for - a vision of the future.
Parenting around screen time begins with a clear vision that can guide decisions and interventions. So, let's start by laying out the vision of how we want our children to leave our home interacting with their devices.
By the time our children leave our homes, we want them to:
- Hack The Hook
Our kids understand that their device is designed to hook their attention – they know how to hack the hook. Instead of complying with the device’s never-ending demand for attention, our children are empowered to stay in charge.
- Use Technology on Purpose
Our kids can intentionally choose to be on and off, rather than reaching for it in every free moment or staying on mindlessly. We want them to enjoy their screen time, not lose hours of their daily lives down tech rabbit holes.
- Be Comfortable Offline
We want them to be comfortable missing out on whatever is happening online - a chat, a game, etc. They are able to hang out with friends or go on a date and connect, without being distracted by FOMO-O (fear of missing out online).
- Balance Their Online and Offline Lives
We want our children to enjoy the benefits of technology while maintaining a life full of other amazing experiences too. This means they can make the necessary adjustments when they notice tech encroaching into other areas of their lives. They should use technology for enjoyment, to get things done, to create the changes they want to see in our world, while also having a life full of offline relationships, activities, and adventures.
- Face Difficult Feelings Instead of Use Technology To Numb
We want our kids to tolerate life’s painful moments, comfort themselves with activities that are not addictive or numbing, then return to solve their problems. We want them to handle a breakup, a death in the family, a failure - and learn the lessons, gain the fortitude, and grow from the experience.
- Avoid Content That Affects Them Negatively
We would like to see that while our children are using their devices, they maintain awareness of their well-being. They get off when it is no longer fun and starting to cause emotional or physical pain (even if their friends are still on). We want to hear them say “I was on social, but I started to feel left out so I got off.”
- Use The Internet to Benefit Others’ Lives
Our children need to be thoroughly aware that the Internet is not private, whatsoever. They deeply understand that although they cannot see the impact of what they post online, the words are read by someone real, with real feelings. We want our children to show leadership and stand for kindness online just as they would in their offline lives.
- Use Skepticism and Discernment When Online
Today’s children need to be equipped with an understanding that anyone can create anything online, and do so often for personal reasons and with ulterior motives. They don’t take the online world at face value and take into account the source of the information they're consuming. They don’t fall for hateful posts, marketing ploys, algorithms that put them in an information bubble, curated social media presentations, and have some ability to decipher fake from real news.
This is a big vision and a big job for parents. Given the pitfalls of the online world, we have to actively guide our children in this direction. The stakes are too high to not strive for this vision. So let’s hold onto it and unite as parents to learn what it takes to prepare our children for a life of wise tech use.
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About Beyond Limits Academy
Beyond Limits is a simple step-by-step online program that teaches parents how to prepare their children for a lifetime of safe and healthy technology use. Going beyond just screen time limits, our skills-based approach provides a clear roadmap that reduces conflict and sets children up to manage their own tech use independently and responsibly. In an increasingly digital world, preparing our children to use technology wisely is no longer an option . . . it's a necessity.
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