Helpful Tips and Advice for Monitoring Your Child’s Technology Usage.
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Child’s Technology Usage - Monitoring Tips and Advice
In today's day and age, it isn't uncommon for kids to grow up using high-tech devices like smart phones and tablets. So naturally, parents want to ensure that their children develop healthy, safe habits while utilizing the Internet and technology. The widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets and the rise of social media has added a new challenge to being a parent. A recent study by the Pew Research Center revealed that 66% of parentsstrong> surveyed in the United States feel that parenting now is harder than 20 years ago due to technology and social media.
A 2017 report from the American Psychological Association’s shows that 94 percent of parents say they take at least one action to manage their child's technology usage during the school year. Additionally, parents do not allow smartphones at the dinner table (32%), limit screen time before bed (32%). Despite these and other efforts, 48 percent say that regulating their child's screen time is a constant battle, and 58 percent feel that their child is attached to their phone or tablet and the same amount (58%) are worried about the influence that social media has on their children's physical and mental health.
Solutions for Managing your Child’s Screen Time Usage
It seems that parents are constantly looking for proven methods to better manage their children’s technology use and screen time.
Fortunately, the American Academy of Pediatrics has established some recommendations for children's media usage. The current recommendations suggest:
- Children under 18 months should avoid any screen-based media except video chatting.
- Children from 18 months to 24 months, parents should choose high-quality programming and watch it with their children.
- Children from 2 years to 5 years, screen time should be limited to one hour per day of high-quality programming.
- Children 6 years and up, parents need to establish consistent limits on the time spent using various forms of media.
Tools to Help Manage Your Kid’s Tech Usage
Obviously setting up screen time limits can be a struggle for most parents and the biggest issue is carrying through with enforcement of the rules. We all know that once a child logs in to their device their attention is completely focused on for hours as they try to navigate through an online game, stream a video or perhaps download music, etc.
To assist parents in monitoring their kids' screen time usage, large tech companies have created a wide range of technology solutions focusing on enforcing, as well as, setting screen time limits. Here are some tools that have been created to provide realistic screen time goals for your child.
Apple and Android Devices
Apple and Android devices come with built-in software focused around screen time limitations. Apple products have a Screen Time feature that can be found within "Settings" that provides a detailed report on web activity and apps usage. The feature allows parents to set time limitations on the device overall as well as specific apps such as YouTube and TikTok.
In addition, parents can place a "Downtime" setting that will blackout the device during certain times and will only allow phone calls or approved apps. Screen time limitations can be adjusted by parents with a PIN code can be adjusted and disabled should the need arise.
Similar to Apple’s “Screen Time’ function, Android products offer a screen time limit enforcement within their “Digital Wellbeing and Parental Control” online tool. The tool provides screen time limitations on the device and the apps with Family Link that allows a parent to connect a child’s device to their so that they may set digital ground rules as well as a graph highlighting screen and app usage in addition to “Nighty Night” locking feature at bedtime.
Computers and Laptops
Google provides a Family Link app for download onto Android devices and is on Google Chromebooks for assistance in enforcing screen time and schedules. The MacOS Catalina operating system offers parents that have Mac products the same screen time features that Apple devices have, where they can monitor usage, schedule downtime, set limits, etc.
Microsoft users can also limit the screen time for their children on Windows 10 laptops and desktops, in addition to Xbox and Android devices. Parents can enable this function by navigating to the "Family Settings" in their Microsoft account.
Video Games and Consoles
Video game console makers have also incorporated screen time controls into their consoles. Microsoft's Xbox, as mentioned earlier, will only allow parents to control the screen time on Xbox video games through their Microsoft account. The Nintendo Switch offers a comprehensive parental control function through an app that you can download to your smart device. The app allows parents to enforce screen time and play. Screen times, game time schedules can be adjusted, disabled or launched through a customizable PIN that will alert kids when playtime is over or has been allowed.
Sony’s PS4 and PS5 gaming consoles have parental controls which can be accessed within the game console or through web-based access to the PlayStation network (PSN). Monthly screen time limits can be set for your child as well as their friends when they are having a playdate.
Mobile Device Apps
There are many apps that allow parents to enforce screen time limits and monitor schedule usage on a child's tablet or smartphone. One such app is Our Pact which allows parents to enforce screen time, schedule usage on your child's tablet or smartphone. There are some additional features, such as family locator, text blocking, web filter, etc. as premium features.
Should you wish to have control for the entire home, the Meet Circle Home Plus device and app allow parents to manage every Wi-Fi device and mobile devices across all networks, from anywhere. The device is connected to the home router and along with the app it ensures that all devices in your home are monitored.
It is evident that technology usage has increased dramatically for people of all ages, however it seems that this trend especially has a negative impact on adolescents. As the data demonstrated, it is important that the screen time of teenagers and children are monitored to aid in their growth and development. Furthermore, limiting screen time can result in many positive effects such as enhanced social interactions and increased physical activity, both which have the power to positively impact their health and quality of life.
We hope this article sheds some light on this present issue, as the statistics proved that parents worldwide are facing the challenge of trying to limit their children's' screen time. We have provided tools, tips, and advice to aid in navigating this slippery slope and we hope it benefits both you and your children!
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