How to Talk to Your Children About Responsible Tech Use
Technology has transformed the way we live, work, and play. But like all good things, there can be downsides. To make sure technology remains a positive influence on your children, help them understand there’s a safe and responsible way to use it.
Children are confronted by technology constantly. Whether it’s a smartphone, smart TV, or even a smart refrigerator, children must learn how to use technology appropriately. Before you sit your toddler down with an iPad to watch cartoons, consider adding some structure to family technology usage. Children need rules, so here are a few you can use from toddler to teenager to teach them responsible enjoyment of technology. For more details you can visit https://technoburst.com/best-ram-for-core-i9-11900k/
Show, Don’t Tell
The first step you can take as a parent is to serve as an example for your child. They watch you, repeat what you say, and do what you do. Show them that you respect technology and use it to your advantage, but that you also set boundaries. No glancing at phones during dinner. Don’t leave the television on during specially designated family time. Explain how Alexa and Siri can help with a recipe, a weather forecast, or a song, but discuss their limitations.
This is a good time to talk openly with your children about how technology fits into your family life. Share how you use technology at work and how it helps solve problems. But you should also offer examples of how technology can cause problems, at work and in other ways. Your boss doesn’t want you scrolling through social media sites while you’re supposed to be working, for example. This is a good time to explain why, in the same way, their kids phone enforces restrictions on social media use.
Determine Their Readiness
As a parent, it’s your call when your child is ready to manage technology on their own. As with all things, you must decide when your child is mature enough to handle it. If you provide a phone for your kid, there should be a good reason. It needs to be more than just a way to occupy your child’s time when you’re busy.
Consider the following factors when deciding whether your child is ready for their own device, like a smartphone or an iPad.
Are They Responsible?
Some children just lose things. It’s not that they’re bad. It’s just they are still at a point in their development when they have a difficult time holding onto their belongings. They lose things, drop things, forget things. If that’s an issue that they’re still growing out of, consider waiting until they’ve mastered responsibility a bit more.
Are They Respectful?
As children grow older, they push boundaries and learn to challenge authority. But if they are going to take on more responsibility, they have to learn how to follow your rules. If they struggle to follow your directions, let them know that getting a device will depend on showing your rules more respect.
Are They Trustworthy?
This can be a difficult question for a parent to answer. If you get your child their own device, they must be open and honest with you about how they are using it. If your kid doesn’t always show trustworthiness, that could be a sign they’re not ready for their own technology.
Negotiate a Contract
By now, you may have realized that the points to consider before handing your child their own smartphone constitute the elements of a contract. A great way to show your child how accountability factors into their technology use is to document their rights and responsibilities in a written agreement.
Say you think your child is ready based on how you answered the questions about responsibility, respect, and trustworthiness. Explain how you expect to hold them accountable in the future about how they use technology. The contract can specify the amount of time they can use their device and what websites they can access. It can include how they share information with you about its use and what restrictions you will place on the device regarding downloads. You may even require your child to share the password on the device to allow you access at any time.
Allow your child to negotiate terms, too, if they want certain provisions. But don’t forgo your right to ensure strong accountability. This is a great life lesson for your child.
Now that you’ve established terms for your child’s use of technology, monitor whether your child is adhering to them. You wouldn’t just hand your child your keys to your car and say, “Use it whenever you like.” Instead, you’d state when they can use the car and what time they — and it — need to be back home. The same principle applies to technology.
This is a good opportunity to discuss honestly and openly with your child how they’re using their device. What are they accessing on the internet? How are they engaging on social media? How much time are they on the device and during what periods? Have these conversations often to get insights into how they’re being impacted by their use of the device.
As your child becomes more accustomed to using technology, they need to understand the perils that exist online. Share insights about the danger of interacting with strangers on the internet. Limit whom they interact with to friends and family members that you know and discuss why that is. Impress upon them that they should never share personal information online (and specify what kind of information you’re talking about).
Also keep in mind that your child is still establishing what is real and what isn’t. Discuss with them how social media can distort reality. The posts they read may not be true. The photos they see can be altered.
Explain how social media often represents what people want you to believe, not what is genuine. No one’s life is perfect, despite what social media might suggest. You know all of this, but your child may not.
Enforce Your Rules
If you expect accountability from your child, demand it. When they stray from the rules you’ve agreed to, impose consequences. If they act in a disrespectful way that doesn’t warrant the privilege of technology, limit the use of it.
You can place parental controls on their device to restrict your child’s access. Discuss with them what the controls do and why you’re using them. If you want to tie them to your child’s behavior, you can explain that as they demonstrate responsible technology use, you will remove the controls.
Technology will inevitably play a large role in your child’s life. When you teach them to use it responsibly, you’ll be fostering a vital life skill.