Thursday, February 4, 2010

Important Things For Parents To Remember When Dealing With Kids and Technology

1. Technology is important in today's world. It is an incredible learning tool for our children.
2. You cannot protect your child 24/7 from technology.
3. Build your children from within so they can withstand.

1. Keep all forms of technology (Internet, Television) in the center of the traffic in your home. Not in bedrooms, dens, theatre rooms,etc.
2. Join your child in using technology. Connect on Facebook or Twitter. Show interest in the websites they visit. Introduce them to websites you have found. Learn how to text.
3. Discuss the negatives involved with technology on a continual basis.
4. Make sure your child is involved in additional activities away from technology.
5. Have fun with your child. Interact in face to face conversations away from a screen.
6. Be involved with your child.

1. Do not be frightened of technology.
2. Do not set strict limits or become the ENFORCER.
3. Do not leave your children at home alone for long periods of time with nothing to do.

Let me explain the above suggestions. You cannot set strict rules about using the internet, texting or other social media. Why? How do you do it? The problem with making this a hard fast rule is that if you enforce hours of use, you will become the ENFORCER in your child's life. When you set rules that required enforcement (another term for nagging) you set yourself up for failure and destroy the relationship you are trying to build with your kids. Thats not a role any parent should want to fill.

Technology is here to stay. In fact 3 of my 4 boys (adults now) have jobs that require the skills they learned from video games, computers, television and texting. What they were doing with their free time was actually quite valuable. These technology skills they were not learning at school. I couldn’t teach them. They taught themselves some skills they needed to be proficient at in today’s world.

In addition to all the social internet, computer, and television time, we went skiing every Saturday, played football as a family, roller bladed, ice skated, camped, hiked, went to the beach. The kids were signed up for sports programs, music lessons, dance, karate, and many other things they showed interest in. If you want your kids to put down their cell phones and shut off the computers or get off with them. Go have fun with them. In other words, give them a reason to take a break from technology. Ideas for parents would include: Install a basketball hoop and go out and shoot baskets with your kids. Trampolines are sometimes considered a no/no, but we had hours of fun jumping with the kids and sleeping outside overnight. Use facebook together as a family. It is fun to send messages and keep in touch on their wall.

Setting rules and hours for tech use and demanding they follow them is a very lazy way of parenting. (My opinion) I recently spoke with a couple of men, husbands and fathers, who still get in trouble with their wives for playing video games on a regular basis. You know what I found out? Those boys had strict rules placed on them as teenagers and were limited to the time they could spend playing video games. It didn't stop them. They would sneak around to friend's houses just to play. It looks like they are still trying to do the same thing as adults.

One caution. Porn is a problem for our youth. Computers should be out in the open. The ills of technology should be discussed as a regular topic between parent and child. With the parent explaining why porn or gambling can and will do damage. After raising 4 boys I know that I cannot be so naive to believe I can protect them from seeing porn. But if you prepare them for it and make sure they understand the sadness it will bring into their lives, they will shut it off themselves.

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