How do you set boundaries around devices? This can be a tricky topic to navigate in your household. Boundaries change depending on your child’s age, your values, school policies etc. School life gives structure, families have a routine. Summertime can be different as children have more free time, and parents are often working, so there is less control over devices in the household. Suggesting some boundaries and going over how to limit device usage at different times of the year, we believe will be useful to help parents adapt and change restrictions throughout the year.
This blog explores the differences between boundaries on children’s devices during the summertime versus the school year.
The last thing we want during summertime is for children to get lost in the digital world, which with increased spare time, can easily happen. Here are some ways you can set boundaries during these summer holiday weeks.
Encourage playtime away from screens
Playtime away from screens is essential, and there are so many ways to do this, from summer camps, play dates, or simply encouraging outdoor play and make-believe games. When the weather is fine, eliminate screentime until winding down in the evening time. Summer camps and play dates are a great way for children to engage with peers outside of school, helping develop many skills like communication, creativity, relationship building and more.
Avoid passive screentime
Passive screen time can be reduced in many ways. Ensure the tv is turned off during the day to avoid distraction. Keep devices out of reach to avoid children picking them up throughout the day and mindlessly and getting consumed in the digital world. You would be surprised what other activities they will partake in throughout the day when devices are removed from their sight.
Light chore work should be encouraged
It’s very easy for children to slip into the ‘I have nothing to do’ mindset. Creating a daily chore list for them can encourage them to take responsibility for tasks, and giving them their devices as a reward, prepares them for later in life when they have to work in order to gain something.
Use yourself and older siblings as an example
When implementing changes in a household around devices, the standard should be set from the top: you. If you have an activity you like to do, e.g. restricting your tv time to just in the evenings and screen time to when you have finished your day’s work, setting this standard with your children will be easier. The same goes for older siblings who might have summer jobs. The same device rules apply to them when in the house.
School Time Boundaries
Setting boundaries around devices during the school year is becoming increasingly more difficult. Why? Before, there was a strict no-phone policy in schools. This has changed since children need their phones more to communicate with parents, whether it be for school collection or when participating in afterschool activities. Before, students worked strictly from school books however, in recent years, we’ve seen more of a change over to iPads and tables in the classroom and the requirement for internet access to complete homework, naturally increasing screentime. Here are some tips on managing your child’s screen time during the summer months.
Implement device schedules
Overall encourage responsible use
This is a really good method to reduce time spent on devices. Having space in your house where technology is not allowed provides a clearer space for other activities like homework and study. Bedrooms are a great space to make device free, along with the dining room. When there are no devices in bedrooms, it allows the room to be more relaxing and provides a better night’s sleep.
Like a chore schedule during the summer months, try implementing a device schedule during the school year. An example of how this would work would be that devices can be used for an hour once homework is completed. Set specific time frames for device usage, such as allowing devices only during designated periods for research or online assignments. Having structured device schedules helps children develop a healthy balance between technology and other activities.
Teach children about responsible digital citizenship and the importance of using devices for educational purposes during school. Emphasise respecting others’ privacy, avoiding cyberbullying, and prioritising academic tasks. Knowledge is key, and providing your child with this education will transpire in your child being able to make educated decisions themselves around their device usage.
At Zeeko, we are here to help you. We pride ourselves in helping parents and teachers across Ireland and further by providing information on Social Media, Internet Safety and Education. If you, as a parent, have any questions about social media and how to navigate it with your child, feel free to reach out to a member of our team.