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Our daily lives are surrounded by technology. While having a wholly integrated technological world can be beneficial to us all in a multitude of ways, constant connection to the online world and our devices can have real consequences on young, growing minds. Studies show that children can develop attention problems, body image issues, sleeping difficulties, or academic deficiencies when they are overly exposed to technology like tv and the Internet. It is vital for young kids to develop healthy digital usage habits to develop flourishing, creative minds capable of solving the global issues of tomorrow. These tips will help limit your child’s digital usage and form positive screen-time habits.

Set a Good Example

Your child’s personality is a direct reflection of genetic predispositions and the environment they are immersed in. Their subjective reality is based on all the experiences they have within their life. The old saying, “Monkey see, monkey do” is the exact relationship children have with their parents. This is why it is so crucial for you as the parent to first form healthy technological habits yourself. If your child sees that the first thing you do in the morning is spend an hour on your tablet, or you always leave the television playing in the background, your child will do the same. Try to set a good example and limit your own usage of screen time.

Create Tech-Free Spots

Experts say it is best practice to keep digital tech out of a child’s bedroom. Keeping your child’s screen time in a common area will allow you to monitor their usage and see what they are viewing. Consider the dining room a place free from technology to allow your family to enjoy a meal together and each other’s company. The dinner table can be the best for stimulating conversations, not for browsing.

Have a Schedule for Screen Time Usage

As mentioned, supper time is a wonderful time to unplug and appreciate your family, learn about each other, and bond. In addition, an hour of screen-free time before bed will help everyone in your household unwind from the day and acts as a mental primer for a good sleep. Blue light from our devices prevents the production of melatonin, a natural hormone in our body that allows us to fall asleep with ease. Try to keep an hour before bed tech-free and help your body stay on its natural circadian rhythm, ensuring you can fall asleep soundly and wake up feeling rested.

Use Tech Offered by Xplornet

The Wireless Routers offered at Xplornet offer parental controls to limit online usage and block potentially harmful websites and content. Parental controls can allow you to monitor what your child is viewing online and keep them safe from malicious activity and adult content.

Advocate Screen-Free Activities

Encouraging your children to do activities that are offline and away from the digital screen is another tip. Participating in after-school sports or art classes can be in more ways stimulating for your child than the online world. While most kids are naturally drawn to dress-up boxes and playing outside, these activities can be promoted by you as the parent as the better alternative to screen time. These practices let your kid be a kid and will enhance their lives, making for great memories when they are your age.

While we all look back fondly on Saturday morning cartoon viewings and the nostalgia of early social media from our own youth, we know there can be too much of a good thing. Empowering our children to become a generation of “doers” instead of “watchers” is an exciting prospect! Some believe culture is best when it is being created and not solely consumed. Don’t let yourself or your children feel like you are on the periphery of the human experience. Try setting down the phones, stowing away the laptops and powering down the TV. Enjoy letting your child explore their own dreams and stimulate the most important tool in their psychological tote bag– their imagination.