What does a healthy media life look like for your family? How can you manage online time for your children well? Here are 5 handy tips to help manage your family’s digital use.
1. Create a media use plan for your family.
It’s very easy for on-screen time to get out of control. Help create a healthy balance by implementing a family digital device agreement. Here is KidZone’s device agreement to get you started: https://beulah.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/2023-DIGITAL-DEVICE-AGREEMENT.pdf
2. Provide reasonable restrictions for media use.
Shockingly, the average age a child views pornographic images for the first time is at the age of seven. Mature content providers are aware that if they hook a child on sexually explicit or violent content at a young age, they will more likely have them as a user of their content as they age. Help prevent this by adding parental controls to all your media devices. This article will provide you with some excellent parental control options: https://www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-parental-control-software
3. Be aware of what your children are watching.
An informed parent is a wise parent. Make yourself aware of what content your child is streaming. Know what the popular TikTok trends, YouTube channels, and video games are. Focus on the Family’s PluggedIn is an excellent, up-to-date website that can help keep you informed.
4. Encourage Playtime
Playtime is key to a child’s learning, development, confidence and well-being. Provide opportunities for structured and unstructured play. Structured play includes outdoor games, swimming lessons, story time groups, music classes and family board games. Unstructured play is when children are given space for personal creative play either alone or with others, imaginative play, exploring new places like playgrounds, parks, the backyard etc. Each day, playtime is essential for healthy child development.
5. Lead by example and participate with them.
Don’t let screen time be alone time. Spending time with your child during screen time promotes bonding, social interaction and active learning. Teach your children how to manage technology well so that they can avoid the dangerous pitfalls that some media platforms offer.