In today’s technology-centered society, parenting is full of advantages and disadvantages. Your child can have FaceTime with grandparents at any time of the day, raise money for a local animal shelter in a few clicks, or learn how to play an instrument with the help of Youtube. However, there are real concerns about technology addiction – so much so that in this digital age, teaching children to establish a balanced relationship with their devices has become an integral part of parenting.
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But what is a balanced technological life like for children? Dr. Mike Brooks, a licensed psychologist and author of technology generation: raising balanced children in a hyper connected world ($22.46, barnesandnoble. Com), shared a clear framework that relies on good role building, communicating with children, building relationships and, most importantly, trusting in their parenting skills.
Related: how much screen time is too much?
Assess the overall situation.
In his book, Dr. Brooks, in collaboration with licensed psychologist Dr. Jon Lasser, proposed a pyramid of technology use based on a public health model. “We call it our tech happy life model,” Dr. Brooks said of the pyramid, which consists of three levels: green, yellow and red. The basis is the green level, which includes preventive measures (“this is where you set limits so that technology won’t be a problem,” he explained. “It may not give six-year-olds smartphones or not introduce technology until they mature.”)
As for yellow? This is when problems arise, parents need to intervene and solve problems (such as repeated struggles around screen time or narrowing external interests). The red level is when strong intervention is absolutely necessary. “This is when things get really out of control,” Dr. Brooks said. “It could be a teenager who stays up late to play fortnite at 2 a.m. and only sleeps for five hours, or when almost all social interaction takes place through the screen – or when depression or anxiety occurs when away from the screen.”
Be an example.
Dr. Brooks explained that as a parent, it is important to show your child a balance with technology. “We can’t ask our children to do things we don’t do ourselves. So we have to ask our children if they think we spend too much time on equipment.” Many children see their parents’ screen use as something that reduces their time together. By communicating openly about this, you can actually build a relationship with your child – which will eventually make them less likely to want to set up a screen between you two.
Focus on strengthening your relationship.
This principle – improving your relationship with your child – is actually the basis for Dr. Brooks’s next suggestion. “If we want to have an impact on our children, it’s through our relationship. We can invest in this relationship by working with our children, not just for and for them,” he said, becoming more than just rules – manufacturers give your children. “The stronger our relationship, the more influence we have as parents to set limits, including those on screen time.”
Set limits – and trust your parenting skills.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen use to one hour a day for children aged 2 to 5, and setting a consistent time limit for technology use for children aged 6 and older to ensure that media consumption does not replace adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors that are vital to health Dr Brooks suggests that every family needs to find its own balance in screen time; What works for one child may not work for every child. “As parents, we have to teach our children how to regulate themselves. We set limits, but as they grow up, we will have to step back a little and believe in our parenting style,” he explained. “Autonomy is needed for children’s development – they want greater independence. They will be disgusted if we micromanage all these aspects of their lives, including screen time.”
Just trusting your instincts can be nerve racking, but it’s essential for a balanced family life. High levels of anxiety between parents can actually damage parent-child relationships and are more harmful than the screen itself. Brooks said that as long as children’s basic needs are met, the success of screen time will follow: “to be honest, I think if parents mainly focus on building relationships and getting rid of their constraints, it will reduce many or even most of the struggle of screen time. Ironically, the biggest solution to the screen problem is not the screen itself. It’s relationships. Invest in relationships first.