8 Tech Parenting Tips Guaranteed to Make Your Family Happier
Raising children today is as hard as it’s ever been, so let’s get to it. Here are 8 parenting tips guaranteed to make your efforts easier (or at least give you some things to consider as you try to make your peace with cellphones and gaming consoles).
Role modeling technology use and etiquette is critically important to children who are constantly learning through role modeling about other parts of their world.
As has always been true, we learn from each other. Limit your own media use and model good digital etiquette. Set the same rules for yourself as you do for your children. If you don’t want them looking at their phone when talking to someone, don’t do it yourself. If you want a child to give you her attention when competing with a screen for eye contact, be sure you look up from your own phone when she is talking to you.
Content matters and the quality of what kids access is important. How and what your child is engaging is as important as how long they are engaging.
Curation helps on this front and a good place to start is Common Sense Media. Resources like Common Sense Media are invaluable to parents of younger children especially. Not sure if something is appropriate for your child or just need good a good resource bank? Start there.
Co-engagement is vital. Family participation with media facilitates social interactions and learning. Play a video game with your kids (even if it bores you to tears). Your perspective influences how your children understand their media experience and it helps them feel like you are part of their digital lives.
Co-viewing, like co-engagement, can be a family activity in the same way that watching family TV used to be a generation or two ago. When you watch something with your kids, it builds social interactions around media. For infants and toddlers, co-viewing is essential.
Create tech-free zones and preserve family mealtime (or something equivalent). Recharge devices overnight outside your child’s bedroom. These actions encourage family time, healthier eating habits, and healthier sleep.
Playtime is important. Unstructured playtime stimulates creativity so you should prioritize daily unplugged playtime, especially for younger children.
Set limits. Tech use, like other activities, should have reasonable limits. Does your child’s technology use help or hinder participation in other activities? If it’s the latter, limits can help.
So there you have it. Parenting has never been easy, but you’re smart, you can do this. What's most important is that you engage your children's technology and media like you do other elements of their lives.