• Mon. May 29th, 2023

Kids & Tech: Parenting in the Age of Screens


May 5, 2023

If you’re a parent in 2023, the chances are good that part of your role is ensuring your child’s safety around screens.

Many folks are becoming concerned about properly navigating parenthood in this new digital age.

We’re now at the point where 71% of parents of children under 12 years old are at least somewhat concerned about how much time their kids spend in front of their devices.

We know how unsure you may be about this new world, so we have some interesting facts about the dangers and benefits of screens and how you can find a happy medium.

Why Parents Need to Be Cautious in Our World of Screens

Now that everything is digital, modern parents face many challenges, including learning how to moderate their teens’ time in front of screens. As of 2019, the average time that teens are sitting in front of screens is approaching seven hours per day. That screen time can combine computers, tablets, television, smartphones, and video games.

Every year, our children start to experience screens at a younger age. Research also shows that over one-third of parents say their children began using smartphones as young as five. The problem is that constant use of screens can negatively affect the brain, especially at a young age.

Most human brains aren’t fully developed until the age of 25. During the years leading up to that point, our brains are developing neurons. Those neurons work hard to form the synapses (or junctions) of the brain.

This process is helped by experiencing real life and the scenarios that come about as we get older. After too much time in front of screens, kids are robbed of these interactions. They can instead experience a hit to their memory, creativity, and critical thinking skills which are crucial as we get older and find our place in the world.

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Because of so many screens, parents must modify their methods by making little changes, like ensuring that kids aren’t looking at screens before bed so their sleep isn’t disturbed.

Also, parents need to lead by example by not having their noses stuck in a smartphone screen and instead going outside and engaging with the world so that the kids will follow suit.

There Are Some Benefits to Screens

You may not realize it at first, but part of parenting is realizing that screens have some benefits in our rapidly evolving world. You may remember long trips to the library back in the day to check out books to learn about the subjects in school. That has been replaced by a bank of computers where students use online encyclopedias and other educational resources to learn and pass their tests.

Students may also get their assignments via an online portal that they can access at home. Parents should allow the use of this tech so their kids can excel in their education. However, it’s also essential to keep an eye on your kids to ensure they stay on task and avoid the many online distractions. Also, if your kids need to go on sites like YouTube to learn, you can install smart apps like Kaspersky Safe Kids to monitor their behaviors and set limits.

Parents would also be wise to start researching what’s coming next in the age of screens, as the way our kids learn will only advance from here. For instance, many schools implement extended reality to give students out-of-this-world experiences. Examples of extended reality include equipping the kids with virtual reality headsets so they can take a field trip anywhere, from the local library to Paris, France, without leaving the classroom.

Some forms of extended reality can even teach your kids about places they can never go, like space or the bottom of the ocean.

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Moderation Is Key

If your kids spend a lot of time at school using screens, then it’s even more crucial to manage their screen time at home so they’re not overdoing it. You must set boundaries for screen time, and the easiest way is to set time limits. Set strict rules, like that your kids can only be on their cell phones or in front of their televisions for a certain number of hours every afternoon. And only after finishing their homework.

As your kids become teens and they have access to multiple devices around the house, parents can keep screens in specific locations and limit them in other spaces. For instance, many parents have a “no phones at the table” policy regarding family dinners. Also, advise your kids that they aren’t allowed to have devices after a certain time of night so they can start to unwind their minds.

Properly parent kids who play video games by setting time limits for how long they can play and encouraging them to stop after each level to get up and go outside to get a change of scenery. If you notice your teen getting too worked up or overly emotional during a game, suggest they turn it off and take a break.

Also, ensure that your kids maintain their privacy when gaming. Don’t allow them to share their real name or location, and if they must chat online, only allow them to do so with people they know in real life and to avoid strangers.

Parenting has evolved quickly over the past 20+ years and will only get crazier. Especially with the introduction of more tech in our daily lives. While time in front of screens may be inevitable, parents who keep a watch on their kids and hold them accountable will raise smart and responsible young adults.

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(Image Source: Unsplash)



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