In this digital age, it is really hard for kids to avoid screens altogether. Parents have to contend with TVs, tablets, smart phones becoming integrated into their children’s daily lives. However, despite their benefits, including learning, an addiction to these gadgets can bring behavioural problems that warrant a digital detox.
According to some researchers, extended screen time has been linked to behavioural problems. Such problems include being confrontational with parents or adopting habits such as eating while texting or watching TV. For yet other children, it is being dependent on technology for entertainment.
Too much screen time has also been linked to sleep problems which can cause irritability and inability to connect with other people on face-to-face basis. Sometimes, that tantrum or sluggishness might just be as a result of inadequate rest which hinders proper functioning of the body.
Thankfully, reducing your kids’ screen time has been shown to greatly improve the behavioural tendencies above.
Here are some ways to effectively have a digital detox:
Replace screen time with other activities
If your child spends hours in front of the TV, the cut that amount of time in half and have them partake in another activity. This could be a chore, a hobby such as painting, playing board games or playing outside.
Playing outside has several benefits and may help kids be able to connect with other kids socially. It also relieves stress and improve their attention span.
Lead by example
There’s no point telling kids to get off their phones if you are holding yours in your hand. Kids learn better through example. It might also benefit you to take a digital break as well. It helps you connect more with your children and enable you to notice the slight nuances and changes in behaviour.
Have a specified no-electronics rule
Have a rule that on specific times there should be no gadgets buzzing such as during meal times. You can also institute a specified time for watching TV such that kids know when to turn it off and do other things. With teens, help them create schedules that ensure that their use of electronics is regulated. If possible, take a family break from electronics by committing to spending time together doing fun activities that don’t include gadgets.