As technology continues to take on a greater role in everyday life, it’s important for parents to avoid
becoming too consumed by it. A 6,000-person study conducted by AVG found that 54 percent of
children believe their parents check their smartphone too often. What’s more, 32 percent of these
children didn’t felt needed while watching their parents obsessively check these devices.
While using technology is unavoidable in school, business and even everyday life, it’s important to
set limits and that your child grows up knowing how not to be consumed by it. By educating them on
some essential habits, they’ll grow up cognizant and understanding of the role technology plays in
life. Here are three other important tips to consider.
1. Stress that Moderation is Key
Aristotle once said the best way to teach character is by modeling good behavior. Yet, it seems
today’s parents don’t always provide the best lessons in “adulting.” According to the above AVG
study, 28 percent of parents believe they don’t set a good example for their children when it comes to
device usage, and 25 percent said they would like their child to use their devices less often.
These days, it’s certainly important for children and teens to grow up immersed in technology, as it
will likely play a key role in their formative years and future. But if you constantly keep your young
one’s use of technology at bay — or even shun the notion of owning a computer and/or smartphone
until they reach a certain age — they will be drastically behind their peers. Of course, use of some of
today’s more popular devices shouldn’t be all-consuming.
Instead, try to limit your kids to a few hours per day using their smartphone or computer. Indeed,
moderation is key. A 2010 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that kids, ages 8 and 18,
spent about seven and a half hours each day engaged in media. TV was the biggest culprit, with
around four and a half hours of daily use, followed by music at two and a half hours.
Unfortunately, these statistics suggest much of a child’s time awake isn’t spent in “reality.” With that
in mind, encourage them to look up and go outside every so often.
2. Encourage Safe Internet Usage
Because you’ve likely spent a lot of time online, you’re keenly aware of the dangers of visiting certain
websites. Viruses, spammers and otherwise malevolent people lurk around every corner and hide
behind the shield of anonymity. Children, on the other hand, might not be aware the person they’re
chatting with online has any sinister intentions.
Knowing all this, it’s imperative you protect your children from getting into things they shouldn’t with
their smartphone — and that’s where parental controls come in handy. For example, many of the LG
phones sold by T-Mobile come with a feature called Family Allowances, giving parents the ability to
monitor the content their children can view and the time they spend online.
Through the program, parents even have the ability to limit their child’s access to their smartphone,
such as at school or during homework or family time. Ultimately, programs like Family Allowances
can help young people develop safe, responsible online habits.
3. Avoid Oversharing and Posting too Much
The pressure to be perfect and always “on” can be overwhelming for many people — and that’s no
more apparent than in the world of social media. According to a study by the Pew Research Center,
71 percent of all teenagers use Facebook, 52 percent use Instagram and 41 percent use Snapchat.
Girls, in particular, are much more active online than their male counterparts. Moreover, a study
conducted by New Flinders University found that the more time high school girls spend on social
media, the more dissatisfied they are with their personal appearance. Of course, much of this can be
self-inflicted due to oversharing.
These days, kids and teens post countless selfies from every angle and at every opportunity. And
like it or not, this gives their peers license to critique their appearance — and turns social media into
a popularity contest. In order to help your kids maintain a good, healthy sense of themselves and
others, encourage them to stop posting to social media seemingly every hour with intimate details
about their personal lives. Unfortunately, they might regret it later.
At the end of the day, it’s never too early to start instilling the right tech habits in your children.
Because the earlier you start, the more likely they will be to take these lessons to heart.