We are so excited to have guest author and Cyber Security Expert and all-around GEEK (his words) Dale Meredith share his specialty with us here at Mommy Convos. Dale is a huge supporter of technology and loves all that it affords both him, his kids and his grand-kiddos. (pictured here) He is not a proponent of doing away with cell phones, game consoles, and such. He’s all about helping kids stay safe and smart with the technology they use, not stopping the use of them.
So… How Do You Create Boundaries for Healthy Technology Habits?
As parents, we can all remember the infiltration of technology in our homes. It seemed like overnight working parents transitioned from rocking a pager on their belt as a cool and hip way for their kids to get a hold of them to everyone in the household owning their own phone. Today gaming systems, laptops, and smart TVs are as common as a toaster sitting on the kitchen counter.
At the end of last year, the average U.S. household had eleven devices in each home. Eleven!
This data alone loudly screams the need for parents to create healthy screen time boundaries. To ensure their kids maintain balanced and productive lives. Establishing these boundaries and guidelines in your home is the foundation element to keeping families safe and smart with all the many tech devices.
Top 5 Tips for Creating Healthy Boundaries Ensuring Healthy Technology Habits:
1- Demonstrate Healthy Screen.
- As parents, we must model good behaviors for our kids to follow. The audio and visual must match. What our kids hear us say (the audio) vs. what they see us do (the visual) must match the boundaries we set.
2- Create technology-free zones.
- Decide together as a family certain times and places that will be “technology-free”. This could be at the dinner table when you and your family are enjoying a meal together. It could also be during a certain time of day, like before school or after a specified curfew in the evening.
3-Set up a family charging station in a common area in the home.
- For the younger kids, create a set time where their devices need to ‘go to bed’ and recharge for the next day. This helps the younger kids from asking to take their devices to bed with them. A family charging station also limits teens from using their devices late into the night.
4-Create family ownership for all game consoles.
- Something that helped our family set and keep acceptable usage boundaries is to set the precedence that the game console(s) are ‘family’ game consoles. These devices are always left in a family area available for any child or parent to use. When Santa visits to deliver a new system, it’s always a family gift. Now for a birthday or other special days, a child might get a game that is theirs, but the console belongs to the family. Therefore, family rules always apply to the unit.
5-Don’t forget that bedrooms were designed for sleeping.
- There are many points of view around TV’s or game consoles in kid’s bedrooms. After 30 years of raising 7 kids, our essential family rule of: no TVs or consoles in our kid’s bedroom is a winner for us. Once consoles and TV’s are allowed into bedrooms, it’s harder for the parent to stay engaged in how the tech device is used.
Helping families be safe and smart with technology in their life is how I roll. If you have not yet established healthy tech boundaries for your family, I encourage you, let’s say I ‘double-dog’ dare you to pick just one of my five tips and see what starts to happen within the walls of your own home.
My goal with my social media channels and blog is to share my tech knowledge with others. All with the intent to help families stay safe and smart with the technology everyone uses. To learn more about the why behind what I do click here.
Dale Dumbs IT Down
Bio: Dale Meredith of ‘Dale Dumbs IT Down’ is a well-known cybersecurity expert. Dale designed: Dale Dumbs IT Down social media sites as a way to educate parents on the knowledge they need to keep their families safe and smart with the technology in their lives.