Today, many young people become addicted to their technology devices at an early age. Many parents give their children iPads and tablets at the age of 2, some even younger.
Studies are beginning to emerge showing the problems associated with technology dependence.
Too much time for devices can lead to slow development of social skills and a lack of communication. It can have long-term physical effects also with brain development and related problems.
Here are five helpful tips to reduce technological dependence and increase healthy conversations.
1. Give very young children blocks and toys, not appliances. The best toys will engage a child’s senses, stimulate their imagination and encourage them to interact with others. As they grow, infants can use toys to explore the permanence of objects and cause-and-effect relationships. They also need objects such as blocks to help develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
2. Parents should store their devices and set a good example. The demands of society can be robust, but mom and dad need to stay out of their devices and talk to their kids. Create free hours around dinner and later. Engage with your children by playing board games and other activities that encourage conversation. Work-related messages can always be answered after the children have gone to bed.
3. Consider giving your child/teen a flip phone instead of a smartphone. A flip phone encourages more conversations, and discourages Internet access and app use. If you need to provide your child with a phone because you don’t have a landline and your child is home alone, or if you need to pick up your child from school or practice and you need to be able to communicate, a flip phone will suffice.
4 Maintain the limits of the device between your child and his friends so that he does not dominate his life. When planning playdates, sleepovers and social outings… ask the parent what their device policy is and follow it. Do not allow your child to bring his device to a friend’s house if his family has a policy without a device. If you need to reach your child, get the parent phone number to contact your child.
5. Learn how to limit screen time and block content. If you have concerns about the technology, but not to the point where you think it should be removed all together, educate yourself on the best products on the market to block content, apply screen time limits, etc. Some good applications for this are Circle, and Bark.