Important lessons to implement at home to help control your child’s technology usage

Andrew Silva, 06 Jan 2020

Keeping your child safe is one of the most important considerations. Every parent goes above and beyond to keep their child as far as possible for situations where their child can be susceptible to harm. From putting plugs in electrical outlets to placing their helmet on before they ride their bicycle to ensuring their children are not using social media and technology excessively or inappropriately. However, sometimes what you do may not be enough.

It would help if you taught your child how to be cautious of their surroundings as well as control their phone and internet usage daily.

Internet safety is a topic that shouldn’t be taken lightly or avoided. Rather than having your child scared of certain situations, you must build them up to be prepared for a situation that is inappropriate form your perspective. Teaching them how to react in certain situations from a young age will help then react to dangers when they arrive. Implementing safety expectations can be done by on-going conversations or role-modelling positive behaviour.

We are going to outline some practical ways to help teach your children how to be safe when they are using technology.

How to control children’s internet and technology usage

Another critical factor surrounding a child's safety is the amount of 'screen time' they are exposed to throughout the day. Many babies and toddlers are overexposed to smartphones and tablets, which can harm their wellbeing. It can also become a threat to their 'cyber safety' with many hazards popping up online. Although technology is not always the enemy, it is essential to control children's internet and phone usage to keep them safe and in check. Here are some simple ways you can control children's internet and phone usage:

Set the example  When you are using your phone, be sure to put it down and give yourself a break from the screen in front of your little one. When you are not using your phone, you will lead by example in explaining to your child why he/she should not resort to technology regularly. 
Use the device together  Avoid giving your child the freedom to navigate solo. Share the screen with your child and get them to explain what is going on, what they are playing, or whatever it is they are doing. This gives them a sense that you’re interested in what they are looking at and is better than them passively watching content. 
Teach children to use creative or educational apps  Try to download creative and educational apps so that the time used on the phone is not 'empty'. Activities which promote thinking and creativity can improve cognitive development. Alternatively, some apps are also great for physical development, such as dance and exercise tutorials. 
Time their usage into increments  Always restrict their time using the phone - but be sure to communicate this. This will help your child put the technology down when they are supposed to. Using a timer is excellent so that time is tracked and that they understand you are serious about measuring the time they are using technology. 
Ensure ‘safe-mode’ is on  As of late, there has been much controversy regarding ads, videos and pop-ups, even on kids channels. The best way to protect your child from inappropriate or harmful content is to ensure safe-mode is on. Also, as the internet is uncontrollable, stay nearby and keep an eye and ear out for what they are watching. It will also be beneficial if you talk out loud about what they are doing so that you and the child understand precisely what is being viewed. 
Avoid saying ‘no’  When your child asks for the phone, avoid saying ‘no.’ This does not mean saying ‘yes.’ instead you could explain why not, or entice them with another activity that they will be inclined to participate in rather than tech-time. 

At Young Academics, we foster environments of care and attention, as your children are part of our family.

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