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Top Tips for Kids and Technology

These days we’re surrounded by opportunities to be online. People don’t talk at the bus stop anymore do they?  They just play with their smartphone or ipad.  So technology is great but it really has changed the way we interact and how does this impact the kids?

Have a listen to our  podcast where my husband Matt and I chat about ‘kids and technology’ or please read on for our summary blog below!

Here are some Top Tips:

1) Screen time:

Content (Creation vs Consumption).  Rather than solely the amount of ‘time’ that you or your kids are on the computer, consider the ratio of educational or creative content where they are being engaged and challenged vs ‘consumption’ which is more passive.  There is a fine balance between education and entertainment.  Talk to your kids about what activities are being used? What are your ‘rules’.  Not just about time, but also know what that time is made up of. Ie Mathletics, Reading eggs, vs YouTube or Angry Birds. It’s also good to consider how much is suitable for their age and stage?

Here are some apps screentimeapp.com or rescuetime.com to monitor time on a particular login over a 24 hr period.

 

2) Keeping It Together:

Having a ‘family computer’ in a communal room is a great way to keep everyone safe and happy. Little kids like you to help them with their homework or to see their achievements.  With laptops and ipads it’s easier to move the screen around the house. Some families have a ‘be in the same room’ rule. They can engage with you, and you can see what they’re seeing.

If you are in a separate room (ie kids in lounge while you cook dinner) do regular check-ins to make sure they’re watching appropriate things.

 

3) Knowing Your Device:

Even if your kids are super savvy with the iPad, it’s our responsibility to make sure they’re safe and not seeing stuff or ordering stuff that we don’t want them to!  So know your way around your device and install some safety features.  If the phone rings or you’re having a shower or a sibling needs you, you may not always BE THERE to see what they’re seeing on screen.

 

4) Who’s is who’s and Family Rules:

These days there are more screens around and multiple devices in one house. It’s helpful for everyone to know what’s on limits, what’s off limits.  Make it clear with the kids who’s device belongs to who and any ‘family rules’ around the use of it. Ie. no food/drink within 1 metre of the computer.

What apps have you discovered for keeping kids safe while on the computer?

Sometimes you gotta just turn off the computer and go to the beach!

Sometimes you gotta just turn off the computer and go to the beach!

We have a ‘sunny day’ rule whereby if its sunny and lovely outside, we encourage the kids to get outdoors and dig in the sandpit or go on a special outing to the beach. It’s great to encourage kids to observe the world around them.  Here’s a great idea I got from my friend Katherine who is living in New Zealand for 1 year from New York.

She is a science teacher ‘back home’ and has a sand collection!

What cool collections do you/your kids have?

What cool collections do you/your kids have?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) Role Model Your Behaviour

Look at your own behaviour as a parent. Nowadays you have the ‘opportunity’ to be constantly plugged in. Sometimes

What message do you want to be sending your kid.

Be aware of your own behaviour around technology. Do you look at your kids when they’re talking to you or are your eyes admittedly fixed on the laptop or iphone screen?  I know how tempting it is to keep doing what you’re doing online while answering their question but what message is it sending? I catch myself doing it, even if I’m actually texting for THEM. i.e. to arrange a play date or logistics around who’s taking the kids to hip hop this week.

Here’s a great blog on How to protect your child on social networks

What are your tips for kids and technology?

Written by

Raised in Toronto Canada, Nat received the 'enthusiasm award' in Grade 7 and not much has changed. She has always loved bringing people together and challenging them to be more than they thought possible. Her background includes Personal Development, Corporate Team Building and Environmental Education. She now lives in Auckland New Zealand with her husband Matt (Nat & Matt) and their 3 children Ruby, Jonah and Xavier. Nat's excited to be blogging again (previously blogged for 'Eco Centric') and sharing parenting and relationship stories with others around the world.