When I was a child, my parents kept the TV locked in a cabinet, and we were only allowed to watch 2 hours per week. Usually Little House on the Prairie on Monday nights, and Love Boat on Saturday night. If we were lucky, they would fall asleep during Love Boat and we could watch Fantasy Island too. I hated that they locked up the TV, but now that I am a parent, I am so grateful for it. I see that I spent so much more time playing outside, or doing crafts or reading books. My childhood was spent enriching my mind and body, not staring at a TV.
Are you concerned about your child’s electronics time?
Do you worry that your child uses electronics for too many hours in the day?
Does your child get upset when you ask him/her to get off electronics?
Are you using electronics as reward for other tasks?
These concerns are all valid in this day and age. The latest research is showing that overuse of electronics can effect health and behavior, and parents should be proactive about limiting electronics time.
How to limit electronic time
Simply telling your child to limit their electronics is not always an easy solution. It can result in unpleasant meltdowns and children being sneaky and finding ways to break the rules. An easier way to handle this is the use electronics to control electronics.
There are many programs that you can use to control your child’s electronics time, and you don’t even have to do anything after you set the programs up. There are three ways to manage this:
- Control it at the router level: If you don’t have a router in your home, I would suggest you get one. The software that comes with your router can do many things to help in this battle against electronics overusage. First, you can set up parent controls to limit what kind of websites your child visits. Second, you can lockdown the internet so only select devices have access to it. Third, you can monitor what they are doing online. Read 3 Clever Ways to Control Your Kid’s Internet Usage for more detailed information to learn how to control things at the router level.
- Get a parental control app: There are many apps that you can use to control specific electronic usage on your child’s devices. I like the ESET Parent Control app and we use it in our home. It allows me to control usages on phones and tablets. I can limit what times of days they are used, how many hours per day, and what apps my kids can download and install. It also gives me a report of what they do with the time they are allowed. In addition, for those without iPhones, it has GPS location for your child’s phone.
- Get a locked cabinet: For gaming systems like Xbox, WiiU and Playstation, the child does not need to have internet access to use some of the games. Also, if you have a collection of DVDs, the child can use those without internet. In these cases you can get a cabinet where you can lock the controllers and disks up, and you only unlock it at the times they are allowed to use them. If you really want to get fancy, you can used a timed lock so it only opens at the times your child is allowed to use them.
While it’s no fun to have to control electronics, it is an important part of modern parenting. More and more research is showing the detrimental effects of too much electronic usage, and so it is up to the parents to be proactive in reducing this.
What do you use to limit electronics time in your household?