I could probably nag on for about 7 posts on great ways to get Techy with your kids. Soo I’ll try to keep it brief.
If you have preenagers like me or a child over the age of a day, you’ll have probably already come to the realisation that they are going up in a very different world to you and I. And I’m not talking COVID-19, I’m talking Tech. They have an instinctive knowledge of apps and gadgets in a way that makes my head spin. Example: My girl is constantly getting cross at me for taking too long to scroll through the remote control, but I exert my inner Alpha parent in this and will not give up my natural birth right in the all-powerful controller… “It’s mine I tell you and my girl will just have to suffer the pain of my fumbling thumbs”
In all honesty I’m not a technophobe, I love a gadget and a gaming app, but my girl has developed that 8 second filter synonyms with *Generation Z. It Drives me insane how she can try and carry a conversation whilst her head is buried in a device. No matter how I feel about her phone activity and online gaming in the coming weeks this is going to be vital in your preenagers and teenager’s social activity. I’m not suggesting for one moment that you just let the vanish into their rooms instead I want to explore how we can use tech in a positive way.
Before we move on to the fun, I think we need to cover the boring stuff and look at a few ground rules and online safety. And remember this is your biggest weapon for discipline in the coming weeks, if they are driving you nuts then the threat of losing their device can be your greatest advantage in the art or parenting warfare.
Fortunately, after talking with my 11yo over the years we have developed a few simple hacks to keeping her safe and me sane. Here’s a few suggestions…
Set up the boundaries:
- This isn’t just for the sake of Lockdown but is brilliant habits to adopt when we all get back to the real world. My daughter knows that after 7pm her phone is mine, unless it’s the weekend. I don’t need to lecture you on the many reasons why, not just the kids, but we should all learn to put down the devices and unwind a few hours before bed. You’re a grown up and like me will probably ignore the science behind this however with my kids I try and stick to it.
- Keep them safe, know the apps they are using and the game they are playing. Work out where they are exposed online and set the apps/games/social media with security level you are happy with. Many of these games can be played offline or social media apps set to private.
- Keep the phone in your room at night. This isn’t about trust and more about controlled exposure. I recently read that it’s when you think they’re asleep that the pressure of misbehaving on their phone and peer pressure becomes problematic. Regardless of any scary danger it simply winds me up if my daughter’s chums are hounding her with messages when she’s already in bed.
Truth is it can cause anxiety for them not to read an incoming message. Don’t believe me, test it. Take their phone, send them a text and watch how antsy they get at not being able to read it. So do them a favour, create some boundaries around their devices and help ease their anxiety. And FFS don’t fall for the “Oh its my morning alarm, I need it” guys get them an alarm clock and job done.
- Age restriction on many games are set for a reason however you are their parent and you know your child. Set gaming limits appropriate to your household and read the small print.
- Like me, you may have to work and the temptation to let them vanish into a world of Fortnite so you can crack on, is too easy. Save their screen time for when you need to make those conference call’s and if you can try and limit how long they’re spending locked in their rooms.
Gaming and Apps
My girl love’s her Xbox and I’m more than happy for her to lose a few hours playing online with her friends a few evenings a week. You may think that’s irresponsible of me however she is an active kid, captain of the team and top set in every area at school. When she’s finished training and her homework is done, I really have no problem with her engaging in an online world.
We don’t let our kids out to play in the same way we used to and with Lockdown looming they may hardly be out at all. Their Tech can really be a way for them to interact with their peers. Especially now, when the next few months we will likely be housebound. Use this time as a great opportunity to learn their world, lean their limits and keep them safe. Use it to your advantage and get involved. How you can do this is coming up in Part 2.
For the next few months, I have reset her time restriction to 8pm, as I believe it’s still good practice to have some boundaries regardless of the changes to school run morning madness. Then for a treat at the weekend I have reset this to 9pm. Set the limits you are happy with and do this early on, that way you will save the battle of trying to break really bad habits.
Please remember to keep an eye on their online activity, I’m not suggesting you snoop however I am saying it’s a good idea to find out who they are talking to, who are old friends and if they are developing any new online mates remind them to not give out phone numbers and addresses online. If possible, try and encourage them to only interact with their pre-existing friends and family.
Tomorrow… Part 2, turning gaming into fun.
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Twitter – Candy@BSingleinStlye (#Motivationinisolation)
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Motivation in Isolation –
- A Parents Survival Guide: How to get tech savvy with the Kids – Part 2 (TBC)
- A Parents Survival Guide: A Crisp Sandwich
- A Parents Survival Guide: Go nuts with Go Noodle
- Tik Tok Challenge:
The Hacks You’ve Already Missed
Motivation In Isolation –
- A Parents Survival Guide: The Shopping List (You’ve been stockpiling the wrong stuff) https://wordpress.com/view/bsingleinstyle.wordpress.com
- A Parents Survival Guide: Day One https://wordpress.com/view/bsingleinstyle.wordpress.com