Being a parent in the age of the Internet must be tougher than for parents before the Internet came along, right? Well, that may be pushing it a bit, but it can certainly cause a lot more anxieties for us now. Most parents lead extremely busy lives and finding the time for everyone to sit down as a family is a lot more difficult now as both parents need to work in order to keep a roof over their family’s heads. So, how can we feasibly keep an eye on what our kids are looking at online, or work to reduce their reliability on the dreaded tablet or smartphone?
Impose A Time Limit
This is usually the first port of call for any parent, and it works better on the younger children, but you are still in for a battle. By allowing them some screen time after they come home from school/playgroup, it is early enough for them to get some quality downtime before the evening meal, and the blue light emitting from the screen won’t affect their sleep. If you are worried about their quality of sleep but aren’t able to get them off the screen until it’s time to sleep, you can install a light filter like F.Lux. Two hours is an adequate amount of time to play their games before their evening meal, and by setting some simple rules, like not having the tablet at the dinner table, you are getting some proper family time in for once!
Take The Surveillance Route
It will be interpreted as spying by your kids, but by looking at their web history, you can get an idea of what sites they look at, and if they are of a questionable nature. If you find that they are looking at inappropriate sites, then you can install web filtering software. Not just a site blocker, but a lot of software now has the ability to set time limits on the usage and has options such as report generating and even a panic button!
Understand That It’s Not The Root Of All Evil Anymore
According to a new study, it appears that 6 hours of screen time per day is not a cause for concern in comparison to a few years ago and that it is woven into our fabric as a constant now. While we may have many struggles in wrestling the tablet or phone away from our children, we can now take comfort in the fact that it isn’t as bad for them as we once thought. The question to ask yourself, as a parent, is if it is the cause for any of their problems, either at home or at school? If their grades are slipping, and they appear a husk of their former self, then it would be time to step in. As long as your children are eating well, exercising, and sleeping properly, then having a bit of screen time in suitable hours may actually do them some good.