School is quickly coming to an end and the start of summer is just around the corner. Your days will be filled with children in the house and planning summer activities. Do you have a plan on managing technology use this summer in your home? Recent research has demonstrated that children are keenly aware of their parents’ use of technology and an increasing number of children describe their parents as “hypocrites” regarding technology use. While we tell our children that they can only use their technology for short periods of time or need to go outside and play, they see us as not following the rules.
Obviously, a parent’s use of technology might be very different than a child’s use of technology. Parents are working at home more often and parents feel increasingly obligated to work during off hours at night or on the weekend. Some companies even demand this of their employees. However, parents still have an obligation to be a good role model for their children. While we have struggled with these same issues and have had our children tell us we are on our phones too much, we hope that the following tips can help with managing technology use this summer.
For those parents with elementary aged children at home
- Designate a timeframe between 8 am – 5 pm to use technology or two smaller timeframes (morning and afternoon) each day.
- This should never be during meal or snack time.
- Everyone should participate, parents and children. This would be a good time to let your children play video games (for example, 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon) while you are either checking emails, looking at social media, or texting with people.
- Schedule at least one daily activity where all digital devices are out of sight. Research suggests that even a device that is turned off but in our presence is distracting.
- Cut off your data to your device until it is the designated time to being on technology.
- Use your technology when your children are napping, having playdates at other people’s houses, or after they go to bed in the evening.