A newer problem facing parents in the last decade is how much screen time is too much for my child? When children as young as kindergarten are using iPads or tablets for their school work on a daily basis, the time to consider that question comes early. How much is too much screen time? At what age should my child have their own phone? Perhaps the most important question is how, as a parent to ensure that children are learning to use technology in ways that are helpful. Andy Banks in an article from 2013 found here (www.interaxiongroup.org/sites/ default/files/media/pdf/10_commandments_of_technology_and_children.pdf) lists “The 10 Commandments of Technology and Children” for parents to consider.
1. Thou Shalt Engage In Open Dialogue About What Your Children Encounter Online
2. Thou Shalt Give More Freedom As Your Children Earn It
3. Thou Shalt Put Limits On Screen Time
4. Thou Shalt Unashamedly Monitor Your Children’s Activity
5. Thou Shalt Have A “No Deleting” Policy
6. Thou Shalt Use Filtering/ Parental Control Software
7. Thou Shalt Not Place All Your Trust In Filtering/Parental Control Software
8. Thou Shalt Have Your Children Check In Their Devices At Bedtime
9. Thou Shalt Know The Apps Your Children Purchase
10. Thou Shalt Model Healthy Technology Behaviors Yourself
I think that this a good starting point for a conversation to have with your child at their level. Perhaps the most important commandment is often times the last one. Are you setting a good example of allowing boundaries with tech in your life? The one piece that this article does not address is how to handle social media and kids’ access to it. When technology works, it has the power to bring people together, but only in the right context. In the same way, fire has great potential to heat a home, but only if it stays in the fire place. If you would like to go deeper on this topic, let Pastor Wade know to plan a forum for discussion soon.
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