Six ways to tame tech-addicted kids
Expert reveals the best tips for creating boundaries
By Practical Parenting team
September 18 2018
Allowing children to have access to technology while ensuring it’s balanced with plenty of outdoor activities is a struggle all parents face. Dr John Demartini, a best-selling author and international educator, shares his top tips for creating rules around screen time.
“Implement a rule whereby all technology is turned off at a certain hour and placed in one general space,” Dr Demartini says. For example, make a rule whereby all screens are turned off at dinnertime, and devices placed in a basket, to be left there until morning.
Focus on educational games
“There is certainly no major harm to having your children actively engaged in interactive exercises or games that involve competitive, cognitive and coordinative skills,” he says. Within reason, of course.
Teach your kids practical life skills
Keeping children busy with activities and chores around the house is a good way to ‘crowd out’ time spent on screens. “There is certainly wisdom in having your children accountable for contributive and productive activities around the inner home or outer yard,” Dr Demartini says. “Assisting them in practical skills that prepare them for true future accountabilities can give them feelings of accomplishment and meaningful contribution to others or the family in general.”
Find alternate ways of having fun
“Having your children be creative with art, designs, plays, choreographies, building projects, landscaping achievements, cleaning or social projects around the neighborhood can add to their social or family initiative skills,” he says.
Play traditional games
Instead of using iPads or DVD players on road trips to occupy your kids, try some old-fashioned car games. “On long car trips, playing simple games as a family, that lead to great laughs and create an interactive, rather than isolated, experience can be memorable,” Dr Demartini says. Count car models or colours, have a sing-a-long, or play ‘I spy’, 20 questions’ or ‘I went to the shops.’
Lead by example
“As parents, making small changes in technology use can help moderate tech triggers for your kids, as you're leading by example,” Dr Demartini says. “Not having your phone beside you while driving, keeping your own personal computer in a private space, and ensuring dinner is a screen-free-session are a few suggestions.”