Technology….what a wonderful thing but also challenging when raising children! Oh what a different generation our kids are growing up in. Back when I was little there was no such thing as a cell phone, kindle, IPod, or even personal computer! Boy am I dating myself! HA!
Raising kids in this day and age has it’s many challenges. There are many things pulling for our children’s attention, but one of the biggest struggles can be technology. Of course most of it seems fun or harmless but in the end it’s an avenue that opens doors to many other “things” that are waiting to trap our kids if we are not on guard!
How do we raise kids in an age where most things come in the form of technology. Games, reading, movies on the go, educational apps, social media, etc. The list goes on! Not saying you “need” those things in your home or life. Many people do fine with out them, but for most of us, we have some kind of device, computer, smart phone, or game system in the house.
Here a few ways our family handles technology and a few you might want to consider:
- Have time limits. Be aware of how much time your child is spending on devices. We all can get busy and time gets away from us, but we need to set limits. It’s healthy! Make time limits for the day or the week. There are many programs out there that can put timers on devices or just keeping track in your mind or paper works well too. Remember all good things in moderation! Too much screen time isn’t good for anyone, let alone little ones!
- Know what they are on. This may seem like a no brain-er but you’d be surprised how many parents have NO clue of what their kids are on. Big mistake! It’s important to be proactive in blocking certain sites or checking their history and see where they’ve been. Ask questions, talk to your teens (or young people) and find out what social media hangouts they are on.
- Install a guard. At our house we have Covenant Eyes (affiliate) which is downloaded on each phone, computer and device and it will give a weekly report on what is being accessed and if there is something questionable it will flag it and make you aware of the danger on that site. It also gives the parents the ability to block certain sites. The cost of this is roughly $10 a month. (I’m sure there are other programs out there, this is just the one we have used for years)
- Be a good example. Honestly we as parents can be just as bad when it comes to technology. We must also limit our time in front of the screen and have real talk time and interaction. Take walks, read together, play a game, etc. Remember our kids watch what we do…it’s helpful when they see us doing other activities that doesn’t involve a computer device.
- Family plug in station. This is something we have recently started in our house that I just LOVE! We have made one location in our house (which happens to be in our bedroom) where all the kids will charge their devices during the night. This insures that mom and dad can see their device and we know they are not on their devices in the room during bedtime. That’s a big no no at our house!
- Have the talk. It’s wise to sit with our kids and explain the dangers of accessing the internet and other programs on line. Make them aware of the hidden dangers that are lurking out there. Obviously depending on their age make it appropriate for them. We must use these times to educate them on not talking to “people” on line and giving out information, or searching on sites that are not kid friendly. Show them that Satan has traps of many different sorts to peek their curiosity and lead them down the wrong path!
- Screen free zone. Most nights our family will have a time where there are no devices on and it’s designated to reading or just card/board games. Now this isn’t ALL night but it’s just a time where we unplug and connect with each other. Maybe doing a few days or a whole week is healthy to unplug and do something different!
- Know their passwords. Our kids know that we at any given time we can have access to their devices. No password is to be changed without us knowing. We try and keep an updated list of their passwords, which helps with accountability.
- Be a step ahead. If you are a parent with any age child you know that they are VERY smart with devices, websites, etc. Stay informed of what is out there, what is new, what teens/young people are doing these days. Educate yourself and be aware of what snap chat is, Instagram, YouTube, etc. (there’s a boat load of social media sites) Check them out yourself and see what content is on them! It’s eye opening! Staying a step ahead of them is key.
Technology can be a fun but it can also be something that Satan will use to corrupt their minds and hearts. It may seem innocent and fun, but we as parents need to keep our heads in the game and be proactive to what our kids and teens are doing on the internet.
Some days it would truly be easier to raise kids with NO technology but we unfortunatly can’t go back in time. We need to be parents that are wise, engaged, and constantly be watchful over our children and the technology that they use. Know what your kids are doing and keep the communication open with them on a daily/weekly basis. I know for sure that Satan would rather us sit back and do nothing, but as you know this will lead to some serious problems down the road. Let’s be a step ahead and active in the area of technology!
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
What things do you do in your home to protect and/or limit screen time? Would love to hear!