8 Ways to Keep Kids Safe Online
Limiting Screen Time for Kids: Nurturing Healthy Habits in this Digital Age by 8 Ways to Keep Kids Safe Online. In the evolving age of modern childhood, the concept of a “safe net” for our little ones has taken on a new meaning. We cannot shut our eyes on technology, as it has become an integral part of daily life. But there is a definite need to balance its presence with physical activities, learning, sports, and real social interactions. It is time for parents to take a fact check. I have already written about the negative effects of media on children. Now here are 8 Ways to Keep Kids Safe Online.
As guardians of our children’s well-being, we hold the remote that guides them through the digital odyssey. Adopting technology’s potential, while respecting its limitations, allows us to pave the way for a generation that balances the virtual and real with finesse. Together, let’s create a world where screens are tools for growth and exploration, harmonizing seamlessly with a life rich in experiences, connection, and holistic development.
Be A Guiding Light
One study by The American Academy of Paediatrics provides insights that guide us in this intricate web of technology and childhood development. The decisive message that emerges is handing over a gadget to our kids unattended is a path full of negative repercussions. I am not a young parent now, but even 40 years ago, I never let them watch TV when I was not around. Mind you, there was no internet then. We had one TV which was in my room and they could watch only when I was around. I steered my son towards Nat Geo, Discovery, WWF, Tennis, and F1 racing. He believed that the WWF duels were real, even though I tried to convince him otherwise.
The recommendations by the American Academy of Paediatrics, vary with age, showing the evolving needs of growing minds.
1. No screen at all for children younger than 18 months.
2. From 18 to 24 months, they advise watchful introduction with parental supervision.
3. For ages 2-5, limit the screen time to one hour per day with the parent.
4. Children above 6 can have screen time as decided by parents but with time limitations.
5. The Balancing Act: Navigating the Digital Landscape ( 1 )
As we traverse this digital landscape, one question surfaces: why is the need for limitations? Screens, while a source of knowledge and entertainment, hold unintended consequences for kids.
So, why the emphasis on limiting screen time? Let’s delve into the crux of the issue-
1. Sedentary Lifestyle and Obesity: Excessive screen engagement leaves kids inactive, veering them toward a sedentary lifestyle, gradually transforming them into couch potatoes and potentially culminating in obesity.
2. Eyesight Strain: Prolonged screen exposure strains young eyes, leading to dryness, headaches, and even blurred vision. We attribute a rise in myopia among kids to extensive screen usage and reduced outdoor time. My neighbour’s 4-year-old son has a tiny globule growing under his eye because of excess mobile usage. Both parents are working and the mom is working from home. They gave him the mobile so that she can continue working undisturbed. But at what cost?
3. Sleep Interference: The blue light emitted by screens disrupts sleep patterns and may lead to insomnia. Thus, it’s wise to curtail gadget use an hour before bedtime.
4. Attention and Behavioural Issues: Studies point to a link between excessive screen time and attention-related behavioural problems among pre-schoolers, slowing their motor skill development. They end up as zombies with no mental stimulation of their own.
5. Mental Health Concerns: Adolescents spending more time on screens are reportedly more susceptible to depression and even suicidal tendencies.
Given these insights, here are eight valuable tips to steer our children towards a healthier screen-time balance:
Guiding Principles: Nurturing Balanced Habits
1. Model Good Habits: Children learn by observing; be a role model by moderating your own screen usage. If parents are on their devices all the time, the children are going to emulate the same. Do not watch adult content when the children are around.
2. Encourage New Skills: Introduce kids to new activities like learning an instrument, painting, dancing, or swimming, enhancing their confidence and overall well-being.
3. Foster Reading Habits: Make reading a habit; start with picture books graduating to storybooks as they grow.
4. Establish House Rules: Set well-defined rules, like no screens during mealtimes or before bed, ensuring balanced screen engagement. In our home, we have set different time slots at home like mama time, grandma time, sibling time and me time.
5. Educate About Effects: Explain the reasoning behind rules in a language they can relate to, and help them understand the consequences.
6. Inspire Creativity: Opt for puzzles and toys that stimulate creativity, building social skills alongside imaginative play.
7. Use Screen-Time Apps: Use screen-time tracking apps for controlled and purposeful usage, monitoring their web activity. A simpler method that we adopt with my grandsons is a timer on the mobile. If we ask the child to use the mobile or TV for one hour, set the timer and, once it goes off, the time is up for further screen time.
8. Encourage Awareness: Encourage kids to research and present the drawbacks of excessive screen time, fostering awareness and self-regulation.
8 Ways to Keep Kids Safe Online
In a world where technology offers boundless opportunities, it’s our duty as caregivers to shepherd our children through the digital landscape. By establishing healthy screen-time boundaries, we equip them with the skills to navigate this realm responsibly and grow into well-rounded individuals. After all, in the delicate years of growing up, striking the right balance is our key responsibility.
The Path Forward: A Digital Odyssey with Balance
Looking for a safe internet experience for your kids? Then try Happinetz
What is Happinetz?
Happinetz is like a special box that connects to your home internet. Once it’s connected, it makes a separate WiFi that keeps the internet safe for kids. You can decide when and how long they can use the internet. It looks at lots of websites and apps, and monitors more than 11o million! It’s already set up to stop over 22 million bad and grown-up websites.
Here are some features:
1. It makes sure only good stuff gets through.
2. Helps choose when kids can use the internet.
3. Monitor what websites and apps kids are using.
4. It takes 5 minutes to set up with only two steps.
5. You don’t need to log on to your kid’s devices or install any special apps.
6. You can connect up to 10 devices. It works with devices, like phones, tablets, laptops, and smart TVs.
So, with Happinetz, kids can have a safe and fun time online!
This post is a part of Happinetz – Safe Internet For Kids
Click here for a demo and get the product from this link – Happinetz
Source ( 1 ) AAP
This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon 2023