Our youth are pre-occupied with technology – specifically playing video games, binging watching TV shows on Netflix and the unique challenges of setting boundaries in era of technology. I know you are too and so I am, but I am particularly worried about our children!
I came up with Eight Strategies to help parents get control over the binging epidemic.
Parents ask we how do I get my daughter to stop watching NetFlix on her computer or HELP, my son doesn’t want to do anything but play his video games.
Many parents expressed grave concern that their children have become “obsessed”, “addicted”, or dependent on playing the games.
Top eight strategies:
1. Parents need to set firm guidelines on time usuage before giving their child access to video games. Parents should set up a schedule.
Best option – don’t allow video game playing during the week
Set a time allotement for the weekend. This can be flexible if child is playing in person with friends.
2. Set similar limits for watching TV shows especially streaming such as Netflix.
Best option: Don’t allow child to watch shows on their computer or Ipad, especially while lying in bed with their door closed. This behavior encourages many negative habits such as overeating, obsessive tendencies, depression and anxiety. It can easily become an escape from dealing with normal childhood and adolescent struggles.
3. Encourage Reading! Seriously!
There has been a dramatic reduction in the amount of time that children spend reading.
According to Time Magazine – reading rates have dropped dramatically over the last three decades. 45% of 17 year olds admit they read by choice only once or twice a year.
The Guardian states that childrens reading is shrinking due to apps, games, and You Tube.
Dylan Collins from children’s discovery start-up Super Aweson said that parents bear some of the responsibility for ensuing children don’t abandon reading.
The bottom line – kids who read to when young are more likely to like reading
Have better vocabulary and do better on test scores.
Will this motivate you to turn off the wi-fi?
4. Don’t use technology as a babysitter!
Instead of reaching for your I-phone the second you want your child to be quiet or anticipate that your child will get inpatient – hand them some crayons and paper. For the younger set, carry some books, legos, play-do when you are going for a long car ride, out to dinner or a doctor’s appointment.
Best option: TALK TO YOUR KIDS AND LISTEN! Don’t barrage them with questions about how did they do on their exam or their homework.
Start by telling them about your day ….
Ask them about a certain topic they are studying
And most of all relax and enjoy them.
5. Schedule Family Time weekly
-have a family meeting – best time on Sundays
-plan a weekly game night – technology free
-turn off your phone and theirs
6. Sleep – have a cut-off time for all technology (harder as kids get older)
Most children are extremely sleep deprived even at young ages. If homework is not completed by a certain time let them go to school without it. Let them incur the consequences.
7. Teach GRATITUDE
There are not sufficient words to emphasize how important it is for parents to teach their children to be grateful for what they have in their lives as well as their own personal attitibutes. One of the most challenging task for parents is to help their children develop a strong sense of confidence and inner strength.
The best way to do this is to devote time and energy to giving to others. Invest time in getting your kids involved in community service and do projects together.
Nothing helps a child’s overall heath and mood than learning how it feels to help someone else.
8. Don’t be afraid to have consequences and enforce them!
I will tell you a secret – your children will respect you and listen to you when you demonstrate strength and leadership. It makes them feel safe. For example: if your teen won’t turn off their video games – turn it off. Take it away for a week, a month and see what happens.
Take step back from your day to day stresses and broaden your scope on the incredible task of raising your children. Stop –breathe-look at the beauty of your child.
Reflect back on your child’s early years. Remember what dreams you had for your child?
What kind of person did you hope your child would develop into?
What are some of your biggest challenges raising your child? How are you going to help your child develop into a kind, loving , empathetic and interesting person who helps to make the world a better place for being in it?
Where is the blueprint for getting there?
These are great talking points with your partner and with your kids. It is never too early to start.