As we work to navigate all that 2020 is to teaching, learning, and life in general, we at Hemlock Public School District recognizes that students, staff, and everyone may find themselves online more and more.
Putting restrictions or limitations on children’s online time and activities can be difficult, especially since many parents are not as tech-savvy as their children. This is something we think is important as children are on devices more and more. For families who engage in plenty of screen time, any changes or new limitations might come as a shock, so it’s important to communicate with your kids about why healthy technology boundaries are foremost.
Principal Gensch shared, “Our students need the technology to stay engaged with school, but it is also pressing to have the outlet of interacting with family and friends (within your bubble) away from technology. Be sure to make time to go enjoy the outdoors, play a board game, or simply relax as a family."
Here are a few tips for setting healthy and effective limitations:
- Teach children that using the Internet for entertainment is a privilege that is earned after other responsibilities (i.e. homework, chores, studying, or sports/instrument practices) are complete.
- Plan family or friends’ activities that do not include the Internet or watching TV. Rather than placing restrictions on using tech devices, have a family dinner or game night planned, or a sports event for them to take part in. This helps alleviate the loss of their Internet time by giving them a fun alternate activity to do instead.
- Keep all laptops, smartphones, and computers in a shared space where kids can use them in the presence of family.
We know how difficult this is right now with everything else that we are dealing with, but also very important. Lead by example. Practice healthy tech and Internet use as a parent, so your kids have a strong role model. Detach from your phone while spending time with them, and don’t let your devices become a distraction from home life.
The Internet is a powerful tool that helps us all learn and grow. It’s a big part of everyday life, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be restrictions. Setting time and place limitations on Internet access is a great way to help keep your kids active, social, and safe in the digital age.
Finding a balance when it comes to tech use can benefit your family in many ways, but it isn’t always the easiest. If you are struggling with how to set Internet time limits, consider using parental control software, or other tools to manage screen time, view alerts and reporting about your child’s online activity, and more. Parental control software makes monitoring Internet use easier and can help ensure that the whole family gets to enjoy time both on and offline.