My two school kids have breezily become more technology savvy than I am. The truth is that we never deprived them of gadget use but between me and their father, he is the more tolerant while I, the mother, regulate. To be honest, I am guilty of turning to gadgets for help when it comes to babysitting/childcare. Whenever I need them to be busy for a little while, I give them their tablets!
I know that excessive use of gadgets is not good for children and adults alike. It poses valid health concerns – from posture to eyes and to social and emotional well-being. However, I believe that balance is the key and to achieve that, there must be some form of a regulation until they become disciplined on their own. I cannot let them be too naïve in this fast-moving, ever-changing world. Besides, there are applications and games which are good for kids.
Last summer vacation, I lost control over their gadget use and I feel like we’ve all abused it. I feel so guilty, mommies. That’s why this school season I vow to reinforce and further strengthen the house rules when it comes to my children’s gadget use.
One battery life a day. I decided to keep their gadgets’ chargers. I do the charging at night so that it would be ready for use the next day. But because they cannot charge it, their time of use would be limited by the battery’s life. Given the age of their gadgets, their battery life when fully charged has an estimate usage time of two hours max, shorter if the WI-FI or Bluetooth is on.
Screen Eye-Protection. Aside from the usual screen protection which mainly guards the gadgets’ screens rather than the users’ eyes, I am buying them eyeglasses which can protect their eyes from the blue light emission and they must wear them when using their gadgets.
Free Access. I make sure I have access to their gadgets and to every account in it. I must know the passwords and users they are using. In addition to this, I will now make it a routine to check the logs, messages, new downloads, sites they visited, as in everything, every weekend.
No gadgets during meals. Meals are considered sacred blessings so they must be given due respect. Also, meal time is a family time when family members can talk and bond over delicious food.
No gadgets in bed. Even if it is sometimes effective in making them sleepy, I don’t allow it. I don’t want them using their gadgets in the dark.
No gadget ownership. I always remind them that they do not have their own gadgets. We just lent it to them so they must take care of them and must be returned when we ask them to.
Reward System. I employed the reward system for gadget use. I allow them to use it if they behaved nicely, if they do something good in school, if they take their afternoon naps, if they eat all their food or if they finish early their homework. If they do otherwise, they know they are not allowed to use gadgets. It’s a pact I made with them and they know (and understand) that.
Adults should set as an example. Because, really, how can we expect the children to learn the proper and responsible use of gadgets if we don’t show them how to. Remember, kids are good imitators. They have this unbelievable ability to quickly do, say or repeat what they have just seen, heard or observed. So, again, the best way to teach your kids about anything is to show them.
I really cannot imagine how is it possible to not expose my children to gadgets when it is evident everywhere – inside the house, in playrooms, in schools, everywhere! I myself grew up playing gameboys and Nintendo. If you’re a parent who is successful in shielding your children from gadgets, please share your experience with me. If you’re like us who are more open to gadget use by children, how do you regulate, if you do regulate? Have you set your own house rules?
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