The children of today have been born as authentic digital natives. Having an electronic device in hand is standard for most children. That being said, children need to learn how and when to put down their devices. It is increasingly important to educate them so that they know how to make responsible use of the new technologies. With these tips to prevent your children from developing Digital Addiction, you are setting them up for future success.
Digital addiction can affect children and adults of all ages. It is the fear of missing out that feeds this type of addiction. Increased usage in social media also puts children at a high risk of digital bullying. Check out the following tips to help your child avoid digital addiction.
10 Tips to Prevent Your Children from Developing Digital Addiction
1. Supervise and monitor:
It can be challenging to determine at what age your child should have access to devices. Many children have indirect access to the Internet through parents and siblings from day one. The longer you wait to expose your child to electronics, the better.
Once you do let them use electronics, make sure to monitor their devices continually. Even child settings on apps such as Youtube Kids have their flaws. Many parents have found very inappropriate videos slipping past the parental settings.
2. Teach proper use of social media:
Whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay. Social channels have become the standard way of communicating and socializing for our young people. While most of these apps do not allow children younger than 13 to access them, many children will lie about their birthday to access these apps early.
While it may seem innocent enough, accessing social media earlier than 13 poses many risks. Cyberbullying is a significant fear, but there are also many predators out there. Once you allow your child to have social media, teach them what is acceptable. They should never send or receive inappropriate images, and should never meet up with someone they do not know.
3. Parental apps and controls:
The risks are there and, to avoid it, it is important to take measures such as installing parental apps on their devices. There are many apps available in the market that help parents monitor their kids with necessary controls, but the one worth trying is the FamilyTime app.
4. Establish times and schedules:
Have you ever been scrolling through Facebook only to realize an hour has passed on accident? If so, you know how easy it is to lose track of time. Setting limits is a great way to prevent your children from developing Digital Addiction. It is best to set the guidelines for your children on how long to spend on a device in a day. You can also place set times, such as outside school hours and turning off before bedtime. Doing this helps prevent them from being up at 2 am playing Minecraft.
5. Monitor mood swings:
Have you noticed your child’s mood has suddenly switched negative? A significant symptom of digital addiction is mood swings and depression. There is a clear difference between the use, abuse, or addiction to digital devices. Some of the significant symptoms to look for are isolation, loss of interest in other activities, social withdraw, anxiety, and depression symptoms. If you notice any of these, remove electronic access and contact your child’s doctor if symptoms do not resolve.
6. Protective factors:
Teach your child essential life skills that can help in the efforts to prevent your children from developing digital addiction. Some examples are promoting self-esteem, creativity, social skills, communication, and problem-solving.
7. Blocking Cyberbullying:
We have mentioned cyberbullying a few times already, and there is a reason. According to DoSomething.com, about 37% of children between the ages of 12 and 17 have been bullied online. Of these, 30% have had it happen more than once. To protect them, we must generate a climate of trust and communication. That way, when they have a problem, they feel safe and comfortable telling an adult.
In the case of cyberbullying, start by taking a screenshot of the incident. From there, block the account to prevent further attacks online. If you are familiar with the family of the person doing the bullying, you could reach out and ask their parents for assistance in stopping the issues. If this is not an option, you can contact your local authorities or the school district (if it happened on school time/devices).
8. Prevent harassment:
Sometimes, the best course of action is prevention. Teaching your child how to protect themselves is vital. Make sure their accounts are private and that they do not accept friend requests from people they do not know in person. Autistic children do experience bullying almost twice as much as their neurotypical peers. Staying vigilant can make a significant difference in the occurrences of bullying.
9. Teach them to react:
Just as important as prevention is knowing how to respond. If they suspect that someone is being bullied, teach them to speak up. Teach them who to talk to and the signs of bullying.
10. Promote other activities:
One of the best ways to prevent your children from developing digital addiction is by giving them other activities. Encourage them to play outdoors, read books, do sports, and other social events. By helping them develop their social-emotional skills, you will help them avoid electronic overuse.
Tips to Prevent Your Children from Developing Digital Addiction
With these tips, you can prevent your children from developing digital addiction. Being proactive is absolutely the way to go, especially as social media becomes more and more a part of daily life.