Computers are awesome things; they’ve gone from being something of a luxury to an everyday necessity and it’s hard to imagine life without them. For parents, advances in technology have been both a blessing and a curse; technology keeps the kids entertained, it educates them, but it can leave them vulnerable to other, more malignant forces.
If you’re a parent of pre-school children, or if you want some advice about how to control your childrens’ time in front of the computer, here are a few ideas to help you find the balance between computer time and family time.
Keep the home computer in a communal room
If you have a desktop computer at home, or you’re thinking of buying a new computer, be very firm about where it can go.
If a child has a computer in their room, it will be available to them at all times, where as having a computer in the living room or the den will allow them to understand that they can only use it at certain times of the day when others are not using it. This not only teaches them about sharing, but also supports the next rule.
Set time limits on screen time
It’s all too easy to spend hours at the computer and not get any work done. For kids, setting a time limit of how long they can use the computer every day not only helps set boundaries but gives them some much-needed time away from the virtual world.
If you set time limits, you have to be strict with the kids; if you say they only have an hour, enforce it and be consistent.
Set up online parental controls
The internet is a great source of information, but unsupervised children can get into trouble online. If you have young children, you can limit the websites that they can access and the sort of content that can come up in search results.
Contact your internet service provider for more information and advice.
Computers by themselves aren’t a bad thing, in fact they can be a really positive addition to the home. But it’s important that young children are raised to know that technology, such as the internet and screen time comes with boundaries and that there is a world outside their desktop computer that is just waiting to be discovered.
So, by all means, invest in a desktop computer, such as the desktops available at Tesco, but be willing to talk openly and honestly to your children about the responsibilities that come with having one at home.
*This article was written by Chrysty Miles for Life With Two Boys.