Kids will battle boundaries placed on their technology. It’s their job to fight you on your dumb rules Mom and Dad.
And it’s your job as a parent to stay in the ring and fight the good fight.
The last thing you want to do is give your child an iPhone and then stick your head in the sand.
Parents, we must engage in the battles that come along with allowing our kids the privilege of today’s technology.
What battles are you willing to fight when it comes to your data draining screenager?
We’ve allowed our children to own smartphones and other technology, now it’s our job to teach them how to properly balance their digital temptations. If you’re the one paying for the devices, wifi or data plans, you’re the one in charge of setting the rules and sticking to them.
1. No phones in the bedrooms
There’s nothing healthy about kids holed up in their bedrooms with headphones on staring at a screen in their downtime. If they’re going to be hanging out on devices they need to at least be present in the family areas of the home.
Have your kids say goodnight to their technology by setting a curfew for charging the phone in the common area of the house overnight. Buy an old school alarm clock to wake your child in the morning instead of letting them make you believe they really need their phone to get them up.
2. Limit data plan
I know it’s easier to just get an unlimited data plan and not have to monitor our kid’s usage. We need to be careful about taking the easy route instead of creating ways to build self-control in our kids.
Sharing a data plan allows each family member a few gigs to our name every month. This goes pretty quickly when you are snap chatting on the school bus and in the car on the way to sports practice nightly.
If your child goes over their allotted data, take the device altogether or shut off the data on the phone until the monthly cycle rolls over into a new one. Kids beg to pay for the overage, but we don’t allow that because our goal is to help them better regulate their usage not teach them that you can always get what you want.
3. Check texts and social media accounts periodically
That i-device isn’t something that should be left to a 12-year-old to navigate on their own. At the same time, there is no way I’m checking their technology as part of my daily routine. If there is zero trust, then they shouldn’t own a device.
Know your kid and know their passwords. It’s good to look at not only what your youngsters are doing online once in a while but it’s smart to check out what their peers are posting as well. They won’t like it when you sit down with them and ask them to scroll through their Instagram or Snapchat feeds, but it’s necessary so they know you’re in the ring.
4. Devices are not guests at the dinner table
No technology should be allowed during mealtime at home or in a restaurant. The rule applies to both adults and children because it’s simply rude and unnecessary. We must model our commitment to conversation by leaving our phones behind if we want to set a good example for our kids.
We have meals together to connect and to build a real relationship with one another. It’s impossible to do that with our noses in screens. There’s enough time spent apart on said devices, that we can’t let screens steal our family mealtime too.
Our kids would love to have no rules and boundaries attached to their technology, but unfortunately, that’s not how parenting works. Our children will be adults soon enough and will be on their own to navigate and pay for their devices and data usage. Until then, it’s up to you and me to create boundaries within our families that we feel help build self-regulation so that our children’s devices are simply an asset to their lives instead of a necessity.