Hello! Here is my "tech tip" for December and January. As we move toward January 1st and the beginning of a new year, it is a chance to start over in many areas of our lives where we feel we need a "tune-up" of sorts. This can be a tune-up up in our health, relationships, or habits. I know we have all heard it before regarding putting limits on our own tech time as well as limits for our kids. Now is the perfect time to put our knowledge into practice. Here are a few tips from the American Association of Pediatrics:
1. Make your own family media use plan. Media should work for you and within your family values and parenting style. When used thoughtfully and appropriately, media can enhance daily life. But when used inappropriately or without thought, media can displace many important activities such as face-to-face interaction, family-time, outdoor-play, exercise, unplugged downtime and sleep. Make your plan at HealthyChildren.org/MediaUsePlan.
2. Treat media as you would any other environment in your child's life. The same parenting guidelines apply in both real and virtual environments. Set limits; kids need and expect them. Know your children's friends, both online and off. Know what platforms, software, and apps your children are using, what sites they are visiting on the web, and what they are doing online.
3. Screen time shouldn't always be alone time. Co-view, co-play, and co-engage with your children when they are using screens - it encourages social interactions, bonding and learning. Play a video game with your kids. . . Watch a show with them; you will have the opportunity to introduce and share your own life experiences and perspectives - and guidance. Don't just monitor them online - interact with them, so you can understand what they are doing and be a part of it.
4. Be a good role model. Teach and model kindness and good manners online. Because children are great mimics, limit your own media use. In fact, you'll be mroe available for and connect with your children if you're interacting . . . with them rather than simply staring at a screen.