It seems like many kids have become obsessed with electronic devices. Although they can be pretty fun to play with, it’s really important that guidelines are put in place to make sure it doesn’t get out of control. Here are four guidelines that you can use when it comes to electronics and your children.
I was in the restaurant last week grabbing a bite to eat with my son and daughter. As we sat there waiting for the waitress to bring out our lunch, I looked around and was amazed to see how many children were playing on electronics as they waited. Now, I’m not opposed to electronics, and my son even has a few of his own – but I do think there should be some limits with kids and their use of electronic devices. Here are four guidelines that you might want to use with your kids:
Have time boundaries
Spending all day playing Xbox or PlayStation isn’t good for children. Instead, they should have specific “electronics time” and it probably shouldn’t be more than an hour a day; two hours at most. Their time on electronics should probably also be limited to a specific time of day. For instance, my children aren’t permitted to play on electronics before school or immediately before bedtime. And one of my girlfriends only allows her kids to play on the weekends.
There are lots of games out there that are simply inappropriate for kids. Therefore, it’s really important to monitor what your kids are playing. It’s similar to watching television. You wouldn’t let your kids watch inappropriate television programs - same is true with letting them play inappropriate games. Violent games, games that use profanity, and games that promote bad behavior are not allowed in our home. My kids also know that if they are at a friend’s home, those types of games are still off limits for them.
Leave the games at home (or in the car)
When we are out and about on outings, my children know that the electronics stay at home. There’s no reason for them to be walking behind me in a grocery store bumping into me or the store merchandise because they are so busy looking at a screen. And if we are having a meal out, that’s time for bonding and talking, certainly not for games. One of the few exceptions is if we are going on a long car ride. Sometimes, I will let them bring the electronics for entertainment for car rides that are over an hour long. However, my kids know that the electronics have to stay in the glove compartment in the car, or in my purse (if the the latter is not feasible) when we arrive to our destination. You might want to remind your children that the games stay at home or in the glove compartment when you’re out on outings.
Make it a bonding experience
Playing on electronics can actually become a family bonding time activity. Maybe instead of allowing the kids to go off to their bedrooms to play alone, your family game nights could sometimes include electronic play. This will help in creating quality time with the kids and helps you monitor their play better too.
Electronics can be a lot of fun and can even be included in family game night. However, it’s probably a good idea to put guidelines into place so that the use of electronics do not become too out of control.