Since the vacation started, I found it harder to limit my kids’ use of their gadgets. Just last year, I did my list on how to enforce gadget discipline on my kids. However, I think I needed to revise them as some do not or cannot be applied anymore today; the eye-protection rule, one-battery-life a day and no gadget in bed. I’m glad I discovered new rules that might just help me in my goal of limiting their gadget time. Do you also want to know my discoveries?
No WIFI or Limited WIFI. With crazy challenges, suicidal/violent-themed games and uncensored in-apps advertisements, I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable in letting my children wander-off the cyberspace on their own, without me by their side. However, WIFI allows us to communicate better with video calls and instant messaging. So, you see, I’m a bit torn between giving them access to WIFI and not. For now, I choose to limit their usage na lang. I didn’t actually know that I could put a cap on their WIFI usage (per MB). Yung, tingin ko ok na for our video calls and sakto lang for their supposed time spent on gadgets. It’s quite a work but I also turned off messaging from all their online games. It’s a bit tedious but going to the settings of each application your kids use to personally set limitations and restrictions seems to offer better protection for your kids. You can search on how to protect your kids from using a specific application, say, YouTube; that’s a more effective control. Besides, limited WIFI means they cannot download new apps.
No APPS or Limited APPS. I’ve tested this before and I resolved that without new APPS (and, they can’t download because of no. 1), they will get bored of playing the same game or using the same application every day. So, on their own, they’ll drop their gadgets! This is why I don’t update their gadgets (i.e. I don’t buy them new ones). What they use are the older versions with slower processors and smaller memories/storages. Gadgets that old won’t be able to keep a lot of APPS, so they have to carefully choose what to keep on their gadgets. If they can download and store several APPS then they will have a lot of choices during their gadget time and if that is so, no reasonable gadget time could ever be enough for them to play them all. Limiting their choices is limiting their time. Parang sa shopping, mas kaunti ang choices, mas mabilis matapos.
Task-First! It’s still a reward system, only more straightforward. Before each use, I give them first a house task to finish, a book or story to read or paperwork to be answered. Always one house task and one school-like task.
Aside from trying to set as a good example, I also like snatching away their attention from their gadgets. We read together. We tickle each other. We pretend play. We binge on fruits or snack while watching kid-friendly shows and movies. Or, I talk to them about anything and everything; trying my best to engage them in real conversations with me, yung “kwentuhan”.
To be honest, it’s difficult to win a “war” against technology or gadgets. To be more honest, even I myself cannot control myself sometimes with streaming and I often find myself wasting time on senseless newsfeeds. It’s an easy distraction kasi from all the everyday stress. But, it is still, oftentimes, unproductive. Instead of waging a war against technology, use it to your advantage na lang. Download educational APPS or something that can stimulate their brains. They said Minecraft is good. Is it? Introduce them to websites of their interests like National Geographic, History, Ripleys, and other web-places.