While technology is certainly helpful in many ways, there are also many downfalls to overusing devices, especially for developing brains. Smartphones and tablets can interfere with normal brain functions like attention span, focus, and self-control. Many experts recommend that young children do not use such devices at all.
Smartphones and tablets can also be extremely addicting. If your children use these devices, you have probably already noticed how they demand to use them at all times of the day. If you don’t comply, they very likely cry or throw tantrums.
If you would like your child to have a “digital detox” follow these steps to do so with ease:
1. Explain what is happening
Be honest with your child. Tell them that using their smartphone or tablet too much is simply not healthy for them. Let them know you will be cutting down the amount of time they are allowed to use them. If they try to fight you on this, let them know you can take them away completely. Using these devices is a privilege and if your child does not behave they should not be allowed to use them at all. Encourage good behavior.
2. Give them alternatives
We tend to use these devices most when we are at home with nothing else to do. It can be tempting to just hand a phone or tablet to your child to keep them busy and out of your way. But this can be very unhealthy and also hurt your relationship with your kid. Instead, plan fun activities that will entertain your child. For example, take them to a park or playground, bake with them, do arts and crafts, etc. If you find an activity your child truly enjoys, they will not crave technology as much. Doing other activities will also be a bonding experience for you and your child.
3. Be a good example
One reason why it can be so difficult for kids to stop using their devices is that they see their parents constantly using them. You need to set a good example for them. Try to avoid using your phone too much when you are around your child.
4. Avoid punishment
Trying to wean a child off of technology can be very frustrating, especially when they are so used to using them. When you suddenly try to limit your child’s usage they may become angry and throw tantrums. Instead of yelling at them or punishing them, try to be understanding and let them know why you are limiting smartphone or tablet time.
Eventually your child will learn to use a smartphone/tablet responsibly on their own. To achieve this, set clear rules and limits with firmness, but also be understanding and loving.