Technology has drastically changed the way we live our daily lives.  In the last decade, numerous tech advancements from television to cell phones have been developed.  While these developments have graced us with convenience and entertainment, they have also come with some negative aspects as well.  As a society, we have become very accustomed to having the power of technology at our fingertips, and many adults tend to rely on it more than we should; so much so, that our children are as well.  

Our children make up a generation that was born into technology; it surrounds them both at school and at home.  While technology has proved to assist children with learning and other fundamental skills, too much tech isn’t good either.  As a parent, how can you protect your children from the damages of too much screen time?

Set a Clear Schedule

Setting a schedule for your children and the amount of screen time they’re permitted is the first step in making sure you are creating a healthy balance.  Technology can teach our children many different skills that weren’t available to previous generations growing up; however, it’s imperative to ensure your child isn’t developing unhealthy usage patterns.  Create a schedule that permits your child to use technology only at certain times each day, or allot specific days during the week.  This works best for younger children who typically benefit from following a routine.

Responsibilities First

Even during scheduled tech times or days, always ensure responsibilities are done first; this means, homework, chores, extracurricular activities, etc.  By making responsibilities a priority, you are limiting your child’s potential to get distracted, and teaching them how to prioritize their time. Tasks such as homework may require the use of a tablet or a computer; in this case, adjust your schedule accordingly.

Track Their Usage

There are plenty of apps that can track your child’s electronic usage.  Certain tracking apps will give you the ability to see how long your child is spending on their devices or what app’s they may be using.  Additionally, some apps give parents the ability to set predetermined screen time rules. This could be beneficial for older children that already have their own devices but still may need some set limits.

Follow Your Own Rules

Setting a routine or schedule for your children’s technology use may prove to be a little difficult if you are not following similar rules.  While this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to drastically limit your own screen time, it does mean you should be conscious of how you’re using it.  Show your children that even your responsibilities need to be completed first before you sit down with your computer.