As mentioned previously about limiting your children’s screen time effectively, you have to be good examples when using technology. “Kids rely on parents to both nurture their digital skills and set the boundaries for healthy and appropriate behavior”, says Dr. David Walsh, founder of National Institute on Media and the Family, and author of parenting books in his article ‘How Parents Can Instill Good Technology Habits in Children’. It is your responsibility to make sure that your child truly understands the importance of utilizing today’s available gadgets healthily.
Here are tips on how to be a good technology role model to your child:
1. Don’t say anything rude via social media
For the past ten years, cyber bullying has been a serious issue on the web among tweens and teenagers through the power of anonymity. This privilege of “keeping your identity” has been abused to push many to their breaking point. Now to ensure a safer environment for your little ones, use social media and technology with carefulness and utter respect when interacting with others. Whatever you do, never, ever be rude. It’s okay to express your opinion as long as you keep your cool and stay objective with your points. In this way, you’d succeed in teaching your children about online etiquette.
2. Don’t spend much time playing games
Showing discipline in playing online/offline games is another effective way to be a good tech role model. Practicing it early and consciously would save you from the fear of overstimulating or influencing your children to prioritize technology than homework.
When with your kiddies, show you finish first important tasks (i.e. doing house chores, helping the child with homework, eating dinner together) before playing games. Refrain also from taking a peak on your phone, as such may lead your child to copy such habit and have a shorter attention span. This would also help your children learn how to manage their time well at home.
3. Enjoy food without answering the phone or checking e-mails
I understand how difficult it is, but with all your might, avoid using any form of technology over breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Having a meal together is still the most effective way to establish connection in the family. Other than strengthening bonds, it also instills values to children and clarifies how rude it is to be busy with gadgets instead of enjoying conversations. Ask how your child did in school today. Know what he learned over dinner instead of going on social media sites finding out what the latest gossip is!
4. Don’t access sites that promote violence, pornography, and anything inappropriate
With your children around, access only child-friendly websites and games. Sites with inappropriate content may spark curiosity in children and lead them to access these pages later on. Consider the Internet as a room and the sites with appropriate content as Pandora’s box. Keep it locked up and thrown away before your child takes a peek. Always remember that technology’s development puts your children’s safety more and more at risk.
5. Play fair
To model good tech behavior is to play fair. There’s nothing wrong with being competitive online, but make sure you keep the game fair when playing with your child. Don’t cheat. Never make your child look away only so you can beat them in that level. Be mature and know it isn’t cute to switch the device off and declare the game’s over when your child is scoring more. More importantly, never use foul language and make your children associate them with ‘losing’. Being fair and keeping calm while playing a game would certainly help children develop commendable tech behavior.
Children learn by example. If you want them to cut down on a bad habit, do your best to model good tech behaviors as well. Prevention is always better than cure so don’t wait until they become teenagers to correct bad tech behaviors.
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