Like it or not, modern technology is one of the main driving forces of our society. It’s slowly made its way into every aspect of our lives—and our children’s. It’s not uncommon these days to see a young child with a smartphone or some other sort of smart device. It’s hard not to worry about what it might be doing to their underdeveloped minds.
We worry about that, too—after all, we make smartwatches specifically for children—but as you’ll see later, we’ve managed to keep these things in mind when creating our product. Since there’s no real way to stop kids from using these devices, the best thing to do is control them. To help you keep your children safe in a sea of technology, check out this guide to setting technology boundaries with your children. Only by working together can we help protect the youngest generation.
Set Limits on Their Usage
Before you even buy your child a smart device, make sure they know and understand that they will not be able to be on it constantly. This new piece of tech will simply exist to help you stay in contact with them while they’re away and perform a few other niche functions. Obviously, they can use it for fun as well, but only if it’s not interfering with more important things and doesn’t take up all their time.
Once they have their new phone, tablet, or watch, you can set up a schedule detailing when they can use it freely and when they need to put it away, especially before bedtime. Many kids try to sneak in smart device usage before bed, which can mess with their regular sleep schedule, even if they use a blue-light filter. That’s why you should have them leave their device in an agreed-upon location outside their room. That way, you’ll know that they’re not on it when they should be sleeping.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to adhere to the rules all the time. If they’ve been good lately, you can extend their screentime by an hour or let them use it before bed on weekends. You don’t need to be a tyrant with these limits, but you will need to enforce them when necessary. Ultimately, it’s up to your discretion, though.
Create Technology-Free Zones
In the same way you should limit their tech usage to specific times, you should also designate specific locations as tech-free zones. Common examples that many parents try to enforce include at the dinner table or during a family night.
It’s also a good idea to teach them that using their devices at school is wrong. Even though you can’t check that they’re following those rules, the administration will, and we know you won’t want to waste time dealing with their misbehavior after the fact.
Heavily Limit Social Media Usage
First of all, if your kid is under the recommended age for a social media site, don’t let them use it. There have been countless studies and articles that go into great detail about how detrimental social media is to children’s mental health. We know it won’t be possible to keep them off those sites forever, but you should hold on for as long as you can.
Once your kids are on social media, track their usage closely. They might not agree with all your rules, but they will be more likely to comply if you let them know that those are the terms for them to have an account.
Once your kids are actively using social media, be sure to be upfront and honest about anything that goes on that you don’t like the look of. For example, if you see signs of cyberbullying, whether your child is the cause or the victim, take immediate steps to intervene. We’ve heard enough horror stories about how quickly those situations can turn a young kid to suicide. It’s a bleak subject matter, but it’s also a vital point.
Encourage More Old-School Tech Features
While some of these methods aren’t necessarily old, encouraging your child to use calling, texting, or video-chats to talk with their friends is a much healthier option than social media. These keep the conversations between only the parties who are involved, not the entire internet. While problems can still arise here, at least it’s more contained.
Problems will always occur within friendship groups, especially as they get older. You can’t stop these issues from happening, but at the very least, you can help them take place in a more private manner.
Set Strict Yet Fair Punishments
After setting up all the rules in this guide to setting technology boundaries with your children, you should be sure to lay out the repercussions for breaking them. We don’t want to sit here and tell you how you should discipline your children—all children are different, so they’ll all require different methods—but you shouldn’t go too hard on them.
Setting strict punishments will only lead them to rebel more and do even more things that they shouldn’t be doing with their smart device. However, on the other end, not putting your foot down will lead to them abusing your rules even further. Just like every other aspect of parenting, you need to find a nice middle ground.
Utilize Parental Controls
No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to catch them breaking the rules all on your own. That’s why you need to apply parental controls whenever possible. Almost all electronics have them as an option these days, and they are easy to use. Simply set the limits and let the technology handle the rest—it’s that simple.
Buy Them a Device That Supports These Ideals
Unfortunately, parental controls aren’t always enough. Your child will still find ways to sneak onto Facebook when they’re not supposed to and pick fights with others online. That’s why, to start out, consider a device that only allows calls, texts, and video-chats while blocking all other internet access. Fortunately for you, we offer a kids’ video-call watch that does all of that.
As we mentioned previously, while we genuinely hold dear to the idea that certain technologies can negatively impact your children, they can still have their benefits. That’s why we made a device that keeps the good and removes the bad. If this sounds like it’ll be the perfect fit for your child, be sure to check it out and take a look at all the other benefits we’ve managed to pack inside.