Research shows that children ages 5-16 spend an average of at least six hours a day on their screens. Children having this level of accessibility to screens and devices at home is a relatively new phenomenon, but research already indicates that too much screen time negatively impacts children.
Since access to devices and screens aren’t going away (and will likely only increase), parents now look for opportunities to give children the mindset and toolkit to live with technology, especially as they grow up and make their own choices. We’ve curated 7 top tips that encourage children to be mindful of how they use their devices at home so they can receive the positive benefits of technology, while avoiding the downsides of overuse.
1) Set a Purpose for Each Device
Whether you’re thinking of getting a device for your child, or giving them access to an existing device in your home, sit down together and set a clear purpose for each device. You will encourage them to have a clear idea about the actions they should be and are taking on that device. By setting early guidelines, you establish boundaries around device usage and encourage children to use devices mindfully.
2) Set Rules Around Device Usage
Collaborate as a family to clarify rules and expectations around internet activity and home devices. Consider things like time limits, priority family commitments, and social engagement at home with each other when coming up with screen time guidelines. Coming up with rules as a family helps everyone be on the same page, and gives children structure in terms of time spent on their devices.
(source: NY Times)
3) Let the Rules Evolve
As children grow, their technology needs evolve. For example, a middle schooler might be more interested in exploring social media, or want their own cell phone. Early guidelines will pay dividends in the years to come. Every year, revisit the discussion with your children around device usage and continue to explore intention and purpose behind online activity. Share your process as a parent in coming up with these guidelines so they understand how they make sense.
4) Have Dedicated Technology Times
Make time for technology by distinguishing specific times during the day as “tech time”. Encourage children to explore the internet and its positive influences and resources during this time in the parameters you’ve set together as a family. Your kids can benefit from technology in a way that builds their own sense of clear boundaries and encourages activities away from the screen.
5) Encourage A Technology Break
It’s all about balance. Encourage your children to explore and learn in spaces free of technology and screens. There are endless possibilities! Backyard play, exploring the great outdoors, and organized sports and activities all have positive benefits for brain and social development.
(source: NY Times)
6) Screen-Free Bedtime
Another part of setting clear boundaries and encouraging mindful device usage is leaving time at the end of the day away from the noise and activity on the screen. Set a nighttime routine for your children sans devices. Work together to set up an evening routine as a family to clear away the clutter from the day, mentally prepare for the next day without stress, and set aside time to wind down and relax into sleep.
7) Keep a Watch with SecurlyHome
You can relax with the SecurlyHome Hub knowing that your child’s devices are all filtered for safe internet, right from the get-go. You can customize settings for your family based on the rules and guidelines you have in place at home, and the free SecurlyHome App makes it easy to stay on top of managing all those devices by putting them all in one view. You can even enforce a tech break and send them to play outside with the Pause function. TheHub makes the conversation about mindful technology usage easy while keeping you connected to what your children do online.
Learn more about SecurlyHome App and Hub and our Parent Toolkit.
For additional resources encouraging mindful usage of technology with your kids, please visit:
Mindfulness in Our Technological Reality
Getting Kids Unhooked From Their Smartphones