Ahh! Its summer time. The kids are out of school and they need things to do. In your mind you're thinking this means trips to the park, camping out and having them running loose through your neighborhood. The truth is more children will spend more time in front of a screen than playing outside. It's sad to think that outdoor activities could be a thing of the past as more tween and teens rely on electronic devices such as TVs, smartphones, tablets, and game consoles as entertainment. Want to make a change from those bad habits? The best way to encourage your tween and teen to make the most of their summer is to establish expectations and rules for summer internet usage.
1. Let them know your expectations for technology use. Let your kids know what to expect regarding internet and social media usage for the summer months. This is the time to set hours for technology use. A good limit for screen time during the summer is two hours a day. Also establish 'no tech zones' where there is to be no Internet usage such as in their bedrooms or at the dinner table.
2. Plan more fun alternatives to technology. One of the best ways to curb your child's internet usage over summer break is to create some real world alternatives. If your child is spending time at day camp, check to see that they have a lot of non internet activities planned the more your child is doing real world activities, the less they will think about screen time. If your kid is spending most of the summer at home, create a balance by requiring them to have some type of physical activity before having downtime playing with their tech devices.
3. Screen Your Kids Screen Friends. It is estimated that 57% of teens make friends online and this is starting to be the trend for younger kids are more and more parents allow their kids to use social media. Take the time to thoroughly screen the friends your teen is making online. If your child plans to meet an online friend in person, plan the outing in a public place with yourself in attendance.
4. Set the Example. If you're asking your teen to spend less time in front of a screen, you should be doing the same thing. Unplug and avoid the urge to check emails and spend time on social media, especially when on vacation. You need to be in the moment with your family. Turn your phone notifications off if it's too much of a temptation.
Setting summer internet usage guidelines for your family will help you make the most of the summer break, keep you safe, and most importantly, promote meaningful time spent together
How do you plan to spend your summer? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Burton Kelso, father of two and Chief Tech Expert of Integral, which offers on-site and remote computer set-up and repair via locations all over the Kansas City Metro and online at www.integralcomputerconsultants.com. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. You can find Burton on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.