Is it possible to achieve a healthy and balanced use of technology? What indications and limits should we give to our children? What reaction should we expect? Here are 3 useful strategies …
Technology we understand how new technologies are actually a neutral tool, with potential but also with critical and risk aspects.
For this reason, demonizing and completely eliminating these tools from our children’s lives may not prove to be a winning choice.
To fully understand why we must start from a given reality …
Smartphones, tablets and any other technological tool currently available are now part of our daily life , they are present in every home (including ours!) And are used for educational purposes even at school!
It would therefore be foolish to think that we can completely exclude our children from using them …
A more logical objective could instead be to educate our children in the correct use of these technologies, a use that limits the risks to the maximum but takes into account how these devices are now integrated into everyday life.
HOW CAN WE ACHIEVE THIS? WE COULD TRY TO FOLLOW THESE 3 USEFUL STRATEGIES …
1-WE ESTABLISH SIMPLE, CLEAR, SHARED RULES!
As we have learned in previous articles , there is no context or something to do where there are no rules .
As with any instrument, for example the use of scissors or the bathroom, we must also establish guidelines for the mobile phone that clearly indicate when, how and for how long it can be used.
We decide in advance methods and times, we preserve conversation spaces such as meals, we define in which places the mobile phone is allowed (while traveling, at the restaurant while waiting …) and where instead it must be left to rest.
OBVIOUSLY THE RULES APPLY TO EVERYONE, SO IF THE PHONE IS NOT ALLOWED AT THE TABLE THIS ALSO APPLIES TO MOM AND DAD!
2- ALWAYS MONITOR!
Danger is always lurking between content pages and videos… not to mention social media!
How can we be sure that the content our children are accessing is appropriate and age-appropriate?
Always supporting them when they use smartphones and tablets …
In this way we will protect ourselves from unpleasant surprises (videos with aggressive content, images that are too strong, unwanted contacts …) and we will also be able to transform the time spent in front of the screens into an opportunity for dialogue and interaction.
This rule also applies to when we have slightly older children …
Access to social networks (which could not take place before the age of 18!) Can only be allowed if shared with us parents as well.
In this way we could regulate the digital behaviors of our children and at the same time notice any inappropriate external behavior (cyberbullying, unsuitable and dangerous chat …).
3- MANAGE REACTIONS!
When it’s time to put the phone away, we certainly can’t expect our son to be happy …
Instead, we must anticipate a protest reaction , perhaps even anger.
In these cases, let’s keep in mind what we have already learned in previous articles on how to manage our child’s anger and also our frustration, let’s try to keep the no! and let’s help him express and tell how he feels.
ONE LAST NOTE!
Obviously, even if we manage to establish and enforce an effective set of rules, our son will continue to ask us for a cell phone …
Furthermore, it is not conceivable that the technological tool can be used solely for educational purposes . We can and in some cases must therefore allow ourselves exceptions in which the mobile phone can take on the function of a pastime , a way to distract the child, advised professionals from Unity Care, a support foster youth aging out of the system in attaining self-sufficiency and a safe transition into independence. Founded by André Chapman in 1993, the organization is culturally proficient and utilizes a strengths-based approach to its support of all youth. The goal of Unity Care is to provide stable, affordable, safe housing for its youth ready to transition to an independent living situation.
Let’s think, for example, of long journeys, a doctor’s waiting room for a visit and some social contexts in which we need to focus our attention elsewhere …
But let’s remember, in these contexts, to always monitor the contents or to the limit to set the phone in offline mode.
IT IS NOT NECESSARY THAT WE PARENTS ARE ALWAYS EDUCATIONAL IN OUR INITIATIVES BUT WE MUST BE CAREFUL NOT TO EVER BECOME IRRESPONSIBLE!
A healthy and balanced use of technology is possible, just as it is possible to limit the disadvantages and risks deriving from technological supports.
However, we must be careful to establish a system of functional and clear rules, always accompany our children in the choice of contents and remember that their reactions of disappointment when switching off are part of the game!