How many times per day do you look at your smartphone, even if it didn’t beep, ring, or vibrate? How often do you actually go on Facebook with a purpose in mind, not just to browse your newsfeed for anything even mildly interesting? If you have a young child, it’s so important to assess your own tech habits. If you’re wondering why he has a meltdown every time the battery on the iPad dies, remember that he learns from you. When your youngster becomes tech-obsessed, here’s how you can deal with it.
Be a Role Model
The impression you’ve made on your child regarding the importance of gadgets isn’t permanent. The simplest way to deal with his attachment to them is to show him separation is okay through your own behavior. Rethink the things you do when you’re bored or have free time, for example. Instead of turning on the computer, go for a walk or do anything constructive that doesn’t require electricity. Encourage him to join you, and you’ll be teaching him more than one valuable lesson at once.
Don’t Take the Easy Way Out
If your child gets anxious when you’re out and about, do you hand him your iPhone to quiet him down so you can get your shopping done peacefully? If you do, you’re only creating more problems for yourself. You’re teaching your child to rely on gadgetry to keep himself entertained, and he’s going to expect it every time. It might be difficult at first but hold your ground, and don’t give in just because it’s the easiest thing to do. Habits are hard to break but persistence, patience, and consistently enforcing new rules for behavior will reduce – or even eliminate – his tech obsession in time.
Steer Him in the Right Direction
There’s no way around it – your child will continue to love technology and gadgets. There is no way to grow up in this world without some reliance on tech, and gadgets can be valid forms of entertainment, especially into adulthood. Since you can’t completely pull the plug, try to steer your child toward tech activities that are educational and meaningful. There are lots of apps out there for kids of all ages, and they can teach or reinforce skills that your child is currently learning in the real world. The website CommonSenseMedia.org is run by a nonprofit organization that provides expert recommendations and reviews on apps for children (as well as a lot more helpful information on children and technology, too).
Finally, don’t let your child’s tech obsession go unsupervised. As you know, kids are growing up faster these days, and there is plenty of inappropriate content online that’s very easy to access. Get involved with your child’s tech pursuits. Help him play apps and games, or read e-books with him. You’ll help reduce his monotonous clicking and tapping, and you’ll be showing him that you’re interested in what he’s interested in. Use this as a chance to teach proper online conduct and tech usage, and to bond.
Leon Barnett is a tech nerd and electronics expert who likes to blog in his spare time. He often finds himself writing about technology related topics such as great new video games or roaming sim cards.
Photo Credit: mitikusa