Today’s kids are growing up to be the most digitally capable generation that our world has ever seen. Born into an era when Internet access is considered an essential resource and personal devices power almost everything we do, many children are connected from the moment they can hold a device. In fact, more than 55% of parents with a child under the age of five say their children are already engaging with digital devices in some way. Kids are developing a level of comfort and aptitude with online technology that prior generations could only dream of. At home, they enjoy ever-expanding entertainment options with video games, smart TVs and social media. At school, students deploy devices to develop interpersonal skills through online collaboration and naturally adopt modern software that opens up greater possibilities for their future careers.
While “growing up digital” affords many advantages to today’s youth, there are still real concerns about digital dependence. Encourage a long-lasting healthy relationship with technology by following these three best practices.
- Limit total screen time. One of the most straightforward strategies for ensuring your child has a balanced digital lifestyle is monitoring the amount of time they spend on personal devices. Whether limiting the amount of time they can spend on specific apps and websites or reducing their time in front of screens altogether, regulating your child’s screen time teaches them to balance content consumption and encourages engagement with offline activities and hobbies.
- Moderate content access. Harmful content comes in many different forms on the Internet, from age-inappropriate topics to websites that encourage users to reveal personal information publicly. Ensure your child stays safe online by moderating the websites and apps they can access on their personal devices. Services like Qustodio and Bark allow parents to filter content, block inappropriate websites, monitor activity and more across their child’s devices.
- Be a role model for healthy digital habits. With everything in their lives, children look to mimic their parents’ behavior. Practicing positive digital practices in your own life is critical for inspiring the same in your children. Set time limits for your device usage, build time away from screens into your daily routine, practice what you preach, and your child will be more likely to follow suit. Check out our post on the benefits of a digital detox for more helpful tips.
While access to digital devices and all that they afford provide our children with a world of opportunities, an open dialogue about healthy digital habits is helpful for achieving a balanced digital future.