The general well-being of every member of the family is necessary for creating a healthy environment essential for kids to learn and grow into healthy and productive adults. In today’s world, having a proper attitude towards technology is vital for an individual’s or family’s psychological development. As parents, it is crucial to begin healthy practices in the home, especially with your children’s approach to the use of technology.
This article will outline some fundamental guidelines on how to create and maintain practices that ensure the overall wellbeing of the 21st-century family.
Become a role model.
There is a saying that goes, “What you do speaks louder than what you say.” Fostering a healthy technological environment in the family first starts with you, the parent having a healthy and balanced approach to technology. This is because children emulate your actions much faster than anything you say.
Technology seems to draw everyone into its web. For most of us, checking our device(s) is the first and last thing we do when we wake up and before going to bed. We tend to be online well into the night, spending more time than is necessary on social media platforms, or engaging in other activities on the internet.
A study showed that for more than 50% of parents, technology interferes during interactions with their kids, at least three or more times each day. The good news is that top tech companies such as Apple and Google are working to reverse this effect. These companies have introduced time limits for some Apps. But, ultimately, you have the sole responsibility to improve your tech usage and imbibe the necessary changes.
Evaluate digital content.
Attention to the kind of technological content members of your family consume is vital. Technology is going nowhere, and as the world’s dependence on the internet increases, it can either be empowering or detrimental to a family’s overall well being.
To help you evaluate the right content for your family, you need to ask specific questions:
- Is the content thought-provoking, informative, and interactive?
- Is it age-appropriate for my kids?
- Is the content current, objective, and accurate?
Balance is key.
Just like with everything in life, a balanced approach to the use of technology, coupled with other activities, is critical for the family’s well being.
Steps must be taken to ensure that the right balance is achieved, like:
- Set restrictions on screen time. This is an essential factor for both parents and children because screen time interferes with face-to-face communications, work, school, and sleep. By setting restrictions on the usage of technology, you get to fill up your day with other exciting activities like reading, cooking, and so on.
- Encourage physical activity. Promoting physical activity is also a great way to set limits on screen time. Activities like jogging, swimming, and so on are great activities families can benefit from. Physical activity also improves the overall productivity and health of each member of the family.
- Set bedtime rules. Technology affects the sleep quality of all individuals; thereby, it is vital to set bedtime rules in the home. Using smartphones, laptops, and other technological devices before bed delay your circadian rhythm because of the suppression of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
These devices also delay the onset and amount of REM sleep an individual gets, which affects your alertness in the morning. If bedtime rules are not set, this could eventually lead to chronic sleep deficiency, which affects an individual’s health.
Discussions about technology.
Having family discussions about issues like accountability, and privacy is essential for a healthy approach towards technology. The concept of accountability in the family encourages children to understand that the rules that govern behavior in the real world should be the same for technological activities. They have to learn to be accountable and careful with their interactions online.
As children grow older, they begin to distinguish between private and public affairs. Discussions about privacy are vital because it will aid the child in discovering how to be confidential in their online activities. Even if a child does not have a complete grasp of the concept of privacy, by merely listening to adults use the word, it will have an impact on the well being in relation to technology.
Hence, children require the presence of their parents or guardians when they are trying to set up new devices so they can have an opportunity to learn more about protecting their personal information online. They should understand that once information is shared online, it cannot be entirely removed.
Engage in stress reduction practices.
According to the Global Wellness report, “the biggest challenges to mental wellness appears to come, not from the technology itself, but from the added pressure and pace of life in the digital age.”
Children tend to use social media to make comparisons between themselves and others. If parents can encourage their kids to practice stress-reduction habits like meditation, they can boost their children’s overall well-being.
Technology has revolutionized and altered the way we interact, work, and live with each other. Technology in itself is not harmful; however, it can draw us away from other important aspects of our lives. So, it becomes imperative to remember the effects technology has on the lives of your family members and use the resources available to prevent any major damage to their well-being before they arise.