Kids and Technology: How Do You Find the Right Balance?
When it comes to kids and technology, how do you find the right balance? I struggle with this question. What are the right approaches … Screen-free before age two? Screen time limits for preschoolers and older? Parental controls? Educational apps vs. gaming? We live in an increasingly digital world. I want my kids to know how to navigate and operate safely within that world. But how?
I see my 9-year-old daughter struggle to do seemingly basic tasks on the iPhone or get frustrated playing Wii games. Her love of math was almost shattered last year when her homework included doing “fast” math facts on the computer and she couldn’t find the numbers quick enough. I wonder if I’ve failed her by not providing enough opportunities for her to practice using technology.
On the flip side, my 4-year-old son has become the IT computer fix-it kid at preschool. During drop-off just last week, one of his peers gleefully greets him with, “Oh good, Owen’s here. He can fix the (frozen) computer.” And, of course, he did. With Owen, we often use technology as a “crutch” for parenting – to keep him behaved in restaurants, during his sister’s soccer games, or whenever we need to settle down his relentless energy. I wonder if I’ve failed him by exposing him to too much digital media rather than guiding him toward learning how to entertain himself.
In addition to the balance of screen time amounts, I struggle with how to stay on top of the latest media, apps, and social channels. What are the best educational apps that engage kids to advance learning? What is the “must have” web monitoring tool? What do I need to tell my 3rd grader about social media and posting? I haven’t even been on SnapChat but I hear it’s what all the kids use. And don’t even get me started on the hidden bullying happening on Instagram when kids’ fail to tag their friends. I fear that if we ban all social media, my daughter will be bullied for that.
Finally, I worry that I’m overthinking this all (which my husband can vouch is highly likely!). Either way, this is the very reason I’m looking forward to our upcoming Family Matters webinar – Beyond Screen Time: Raising Children in the Digital Age. In the past, I attended our live webinars to offer advice, tips and ideas on the topics. For this one, I’m attending to get advice, tips, and ideas about kids and technology. Clearly, I’m at a loss. In anticipation of the webinar, what are the questions you have or advice you can give about finding the balance of teaching kids technology but also the value of off-screen time?
Join us on Wednesday, January 27 at 3:00 p.m. ET for the upcoming Family Matters webinar. Hear digital expert Devorah Heitner, PhD and founder of Raising Digital Natives, discuss the challenges of raising children in a digital-first world, quality versus quantity of screen time, and how you can model responsible use that sets your child up for a lifetime of success. Register today.
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