Creating healthy digital habits in your child
Surveys have consistently shown that children are being exposed to increasing amounts of screen time each year.
As adults we’re often concerned about the connections children and young people are making online and the subsequent impact on their wellbeing. The time they spend online, scrolling, searching and swiping which could be spent doing outdoor activities is also concerning.
Digital devices are here to stay, so it’s imperative to look at how kids can remain in control of their screen use and ensure the time they’re investing online is adding something helpful, positive and meaningful to our lives.
Here are four tips to help kids develop healthy digital habits. Being mindful of how time is spent looking at our devices is certainly not just reserved for young people.
Encourage creation not just consumption
Is your child more of a consumer or creator when they’re online? Check to see if they spend time online time in creative mode such as making things, creating their own videos or presentations, editing photos, writing posts, coding a video game or composing a song. Encourage them to be creative rather than mere consumers of digital content.
- Discuss who they are following
The digital world encourages leaders and followers. It places people and individuals from all walks of life in close contact with your kids. They can follow companies, musical icons, sports stars as well as friends. Encourage your child to follow people and companies that can fuel their passions.
For instance, if they love space, search for NASA and related accounts. If they love photography, help them find great photographers sharing their work online. When they’re following people that teach, inspire and ignite their passions, they’re less likely to spend valuable time with energy zappers.
- Digitally de-clutter regularly
Many kids collect apps on their devices in the same way that former generations collected football cards or swap cards. Encourage them to delete the apps they no longer use or apps that offer no benefits to their lives. Could there be better games to play? Are there better videos for them to watch than the ones that the YouTube algorithm believes they want to see?
- Show kids good practises
Most kids learn much more from what they see and experience, rather than from what they are told. As a parent be intentional with your screen time. Do you:
- Follow people that support you, challenge you in helpful ways or inspire and lift you up?
- Interact in positive ways?
· Give people your attention rather than scroll whilst others are talking to you?
· Put your digital devices away in order to fit all the other important things into your day?
Setting your kids up with healthy digital habits will help make these practises the norm. If you don’t want your children falling prey to the harmful and unhelpful experiences online, you need to be sure that they are focusing on positive and helpful screen time pursuits. In addition to this, I highly recommend families using Apple devices set their child’s devices up through Family Sharing – If you use Samsung or Android devices that use Google Apps, you might like to set up a Google Play Family Sharing group instead.
What Is Family Sharing?
Family Sharing lets you connect up to 6 different Apple ID accounts together. These accounts form your Family Sharing group, which you can use to save money by sharing various Apple purchases and services, including apps, movies, TV shows, songs, books and iCloud storage.
What Can You Manage?
The main attraction for parents setting up Family Sharing is that you can manage the Screen Time or Content & Privacy Restrictions for any children under 18 in the group. With Ask to Buy turned on, you can also approve or deny App Store and iTunes purchases your kids want to make. You can choose to set App Limits, Communication Limits, Downtime, and Content & Privacy Restrictions on your children’s devices. This is particularly useful if you want to restrict an app (like iMessage or Facebook) during certain hours of the day – such as during school hours or after bedtime.
Family Sharing also gives you regular usage reports so you can keep an eye on how much your children use their devices.
You can follow these instructions here to begin setting up your child’s device.