Summer is here and the structured schedule and demands of the school year are fading away. Children and teens may be enticed to fill their new spare time with their devices. Parents appropriately worry that their children and teens will hole up with their device of choice rather than engage in typical fun summer activities. Here are some tips to help your family avoid a device driven summer:
· Set clear limits and expectations around technology use
o Time limits on internet use and clear expectations regarding online activities are good boundaries to set for your child’s summer technology use. Be clear and concise to reduce potential conflict over ambiguous rules and reduce loopholes your kids could use to get around your rules.
· Be consistent
o Set your boundaries and then consistently enforce them. It will show your kids that you mean what you say and plan to follow through.
· Don’t expect kids to self-regulate their technology use
o Know your kid – if they’re going to be too drawn to online activities to self-monitor their own adherence to rules, help regulate it for them. You can set your kids up for success by changing passwords on wifi networks and reduced their access to devices. Tote your kids tablets to work if need be!
· Don’t just say ‘no’ to tech time, provide ideas for alternative activities
o Have a brainstorming session with your family to come up with non-tech alternative activities that they enjoy. Once they’re engaged in fun summer activities it will reduce their drive to get online.
· Strive for balance between tech time and non-tech time
o Don’t reduce tech time to zero. Come up with a summer plan that includes device use and alternative activities at a ratio that suits your family’s needs.
· Get involved in non-tech activities with your kids
o Planning summer activities for the whole family will help enforce your tech policy, promote the fun of non-tech activities, and show your kids that you follow the family tech policy as well.