Children’s Technology Use Guidelines for Parents


Tech Management Guidelines for Parents

 These guidelines apply to  non-TV tech use, such as tablets, smart phones,  gaming. These guidelines are intended for parents when considering tech management in their homes. Every family and child is unique and these guidelines need to be applied in that context, with parents being the ultimate decider of what is best for their  family and child.

 • Try to limit tech use to 1-hour a day as longer stretches make it difficult to stop the addictive cycle.

-Whenever possible give plenty of advance warnings before ending tech time.

• Avoid using tech as part of a reward system as it’s not possible to increase use for good behavior and taking it away may exacerbate conflicts.

• Many parents have used video games as a substitute for supervision. In the short-term this may be useful yet it’s very difficult to transition away from excessive tech time.

 • Establish “screen-free” locations and “screen-free” times in your house..

• Try to avoid tech use first thing in the morning; many activities can’t compete with tech adrenaline.

• A perfect antidote to kids wanting excessive tech time is a busy schedule of fun summer activities.

• Summer is a great time for  social emotional development and too much tech can be a distraction.

• No kids should be left alone in their bedroom or basement with friends using tech without frequent monitoring. For safety and supervision guidelines refer to *Common Sense Media (see link below).

-Tech devises should not kept in the bedrooms as  it’s impossible to monitor use and this increases the likelihood that kids will be isolated and using tech and   sneaking tech.

-Beware of comments such as “everyone else is using face book” or “all my friends use online gaming”. Parents have to make their own decisions on what is appropriate for their  child

• Use tech to promote learning and creativity through *ebooks, *software graphics for children, and camera apps for making movies and taking photos. Using tech tools for creativity is encouraged with supervision and can be viewed as additional tech time, beyond the recommended one hour daily limit.

-Tech education apps should be  monitored as many include video game components (i.e. math blaster).

 • Expect resistance (3-5 days) when implementing a new tech management plan. Older teens who are accustomed to using tech at will, are likely to have more difficulty accepting new limits. Parents should respond with patience while they adjust. If after several days, ongoing power struggles ensue, seek professional consultation (1-2 sessions) to develop the best plan for your unique family circumstances.

 Parents are the ultimate role models for kids and tech use is no different. Parents should monitor their own use and abide by self-imposed guidelines that include tech free zones and times, and limit their tech use when kids are present. Parent-child gaming is not recommended as it sets a precedent that is difficult to break; often times other parent-child activities are no longer as interesting to the child.

Television – For most children who have engaged in interactive tech (i.e. gaming, xbox, social media)  television is  less alluring. Parents should limit TV time to 2-hours daily and  for children under the age of 7 to one hour daily. TV needs to be closely monitored and can be used a vehicle for discussing a child’s interest, feelings and beliefs. TV in the bedrooms of children and parents is discouraged as this promotes tuning out from family life. Given the highly realistic and graphic content of television news, children under the age of 12 should not watch the news and children ages 12 and up should watch only with close supervision. Parents should follow *Common Sense Media guidelines for TV.