This post is sponsored by TeenSafe in partnership with KidzVuz.com.
Ah, the tween years. They are so much different than when we were a kid. Back when I was growing up, we didn’t have cellphones or laptops. Computers were a thing, but the Internet wasn’t around yet. You really only could connect with the kids that you went to school with and those in your area.
Boy, have things changed!
Now with the Internet, smartphones, gaming devices, and the like, kids are being exposed to more digital items than ever. While us parents want our kids to be able to have fun and connect with friends, it comes with a cost. It is important that we guide our children towards balance of their online and offline lives for their overall health.
Too much of anything can be bad. Allowing children to have unlimited screen time online is a recipe for disaster. It can lead to being addicted to gadgets and the Internet, poor sleeping habits, and even bad grades and acting out. Which is why I limit my tween’s digital usage, as I want her to be able to thrive in the real world.
TeenSafe recently shared with me some statistics with me that I found insightful. On average, 8 to 10 year olds in our country spend eight hours a day with various media. For older kids, it adds up to a staggering 11 hours per day! That is way too much digital consumption for our young ones. We have to step in and make sure we can #FightScreenAddiction, hopefully before it starts.
Here’s a list of ways that I limit my tween’s digital usage:
- Only one hour of screen time during the week and two hours on the weekends and school breaks (across all of her devices and TV). This is after all homework and chores are completed.
- She must give me her smartphone each night prior to her going to bed. This stops usage after she is supposed to be sleep so she can properly rest.
- I monitor all of her text messages and Internet use on her phone and her laptop.
- She is not allowed to be on Facebook, Snapchat, or Twitter at all. I’ve allowed her a private Instagram account (for out-of-town relatives) that I monitor. I approve all of her followers and who she follows.
- She understands that her smartphone and other digital devices are a privilege and not a right, and and breaking rules or not getting good grades terminates her ability to use them.
- She is not allowed to download or use any apps without my permission.
In addition, we have tech-free zones in our home, something that I have blogged about before. Certain areas in our home like the dining room and living room, laptops, smartphones, and tablets are not allowed. This keeps us engaged during dinnertime and family game night, and other activities we do together as a family.
As a Digital Debutante myself, I also talk to her regularly about Internet safety and how to unplug on a regular basis. We’ve been talking about this since she was in first grade, so I believe that it has made her understand that having screen-free time is critical.
I am hoping through my proactivity and frequent chats about living the digital life that my daughter learns the importance of managing her digital life. It is also important for me and her father to lead my example so she learns good habits from us.
To learn more about #FightScreenAddiction, click HERE.
Refer to the Infographic below for more information.