What technology is part of our lives and it will not go away, but it will evolve more and more quickly and it is a fact that we cannot let pass and that we must face.
Now … how to adapt to this new reality of educational and parenting strategies applied to the family context?
The implications of the constant use of networked devices
The data we had on the use of technology by our children and adolescents was alarming to say the least. However, after confinement resulting from the coronavirus pandemic we know that children use 76% more devices.
- The amount of time young people spend on the Internet is equivalent to 136.5 days per year.
- Almost a million girls and boys in Spain are at risk of internet addiction (out of a total of 4 million)
- 72.7% of children under 12 have a cell phone.
- More than 35% of the profiles of children under 14 are public.
- Boys and girls under 6 spend 2 hours a day in front of a screen, 3 times longer than reading or listening to someone read to them.
Today, due to the health crisis, technology has been essential for working, studying, communicating, doing homework… Thanks to technology, we have been able to continue working. However, the use of screens increased during quarantine, due to the closure of schools and the impossibility of contact with family, friends … Obviously, this is an exceptional situation where we have all used technology much more than we have.
For all this we must consider how to effectively manage the use of new technologies with our sons and daughters.
The importance of borders
Each family must set limits regarding the use of new technologies; we must support children and adolescents on this digital path.
You can’t help but get the situation under control. In this regard, we also have many parental control apps that can help us.
In addition, a digital family plan must be in place. How do you start?
Know the starting point
The first will be establish the technological profile of all family members: what devices we use, how long, what use we give them, the content we access … This way we can know the starting point and do a self-reflection exercise on the use we, the adults, let’s do technology.
Below we will make a diagnosis on the devices we have at home, in which areas of the house they are used, the rules for using different devices at home, if there are parental control applications… This will allow us to know in detail if we are making good use of them, if we are abusing or engaging in risky behavior.
At this stage of the digital diagnosis we can establish contracts for the use of the devices, search for the best educational apps and let your imagination run wild to find plans and activities we can do as a family without screens.
The digital family plan
Once you know what your family is like and how they can improve, it’s time to create your own digital family plan. We can put the plan in the fridge and revise it to modify it as we develop it.
It is very important that all family members participate and contribute their ideas to this plan. Each family is a world, don’t be afraid to make your own rules. What works for your neighbor may not work for you.
As general guidelines that we can follow with the youngest children we have:
- The key is to take it slow.
- Boys and girls under 3 should not have access to screens.
- From 3 to 6 years old, a maximum of 30 minutes per day related to leisure activities.
- Choosing the right content, not because it’s on a children’s platform, is appropriate (eg Youtube Kids).
- Start with slow, low-content apps and programs.
- Let the tablet not become a babysitter.
- Support, be present and available for our sons and daughters.
And above all, don’t forget that As a parent, you are a role model for your child, there is no better parental control than yourself. Awareness, responsibility, respect and a lot of communication.