When children spend too much time online, parents are quick to limiting screen time for them or even ban it completely! Did you know that when you ban screen time for your child, it can have more serious consequences? Most parents have never thought about these five reasons.
Sometimes, when our children misbehave due to too much screen time, or they are always playing games and chatting on the mobile phone, it is normal to worry.
- Who are they talking too?’
- Are they sharing too much personal information…
- What’s that app? Is it safe?
- Why is he on YouTube all the time…
There is so much to keep an eye on.
It is natural to feel like you would want some control. You may already have rules for them but when they don’t work, who wouldn’t be driven crazy??
Then there are parents who limit screen time for their kids from the beginning because hey, who wants to deal with the stuff later on!
We all know how too much screen time can can lead to serious problem. Toddlers through tantrums, preschoolers whine and tweens talk back when they aren’t allowed to get their way.
Tweens and teenagers are the worst in this regard. They want their own phones and laptops. When we say no, they start being defiant and angry. All those hormones make things go quickly out of hand . We wonder how much we can control them further.
We cannot parent our kids the way our parents raised us.
If you are from my generation and reading this, then I am sure you’d agree that our parents really weren’t this strict about a lot of things that we are about these days.
I don’t think my parents ever thought of technology as a threat to their children. No doubt, it was all new and most of us didn’t know what kind of danger mobile phones and the internet posed but even then, I think, it was a lot of freedom that we got in our days.
Our kids need our trust and respect.
My children are now 6,8 and 12 years old. Even when they act up, I keep reminding myself that I should trust my children and give them time to learn to handle their own problems before stepping in.
If you think there is something wrong then it is our job to sit down with them and talk it out.
Sometimes, our children need us to act. Like for example, you have seen a case of bullying or sharing too much information online. You have to step up and stop them from sharing that information. You have to find out who is bothering them and how you can protect them.
In the past 15 years, I have been researching, reading and collecting all the information I can about the ways in which I can keep my children safe on the internet.
Children need technology.
It is essential that they know how to use this tool. We are in an ever changing world. Just as you would teach your children skills like reading, writing and counting, you ought to teach them to use technology too.
Children need Limits, Rules and Boundaries
Most of us start out enthusiastic about it. We make routines, stick to schedules and what not… but then trouble hits.
You fall off the routine. The rules are relaxed. Your children start to misuse privileges.
You tell them what they can and cannot do online but they ignore the warnings. They are in and out of your documents, you have security issues and you catch them on YouTube or Google searching for stuff that they shouldn’t be watching. Time-outs and with-holding privileges don’t work.
What should parents do in such a case?
It is hard to accept that the real reason children misuse technology is because the rules and boundaries regarding it in the home are not working any more. They may have been relaxed or they were not being enforced properly.
Screen time addiction happens when we fail with the rules.
Should parents be limiting screen time for kids?
Yes. Kids don’t need to be using technology as entertainment. They should be taught that their devices are privileges and you can take them away. At the same time, we need to remind them that technology is a tool.
Letting your child have some screen time may be necessary but you should never BAN screen time. To be honest, you cannot ban screen time for kids.
If you restrict it at home, your kids will find other places to use it. And when that happens… you are in a bigger trouble than you were with them messing your stuff up.
5 consequences of being too strict with limiting screen time for Kids
Here are 5 main reasons why you should never ban the internet for your child.
1. You will disadvantage your child in terms of educational resources.
The internet is a huge resource of information. Think of it as the library. Just like there are good books, bad books and inappropriate books, so has the internet.
In the fast paced life that we live, education is advancing. Just look at this year – 2020! Who would have thought that our whole education system would move online so fast?
There is every reason for our children to be on the internet. Your child can explore new ideas, gather information for the topics that interest him; he can look for more references for what has been taught at school; find easier methods to understand a topic and he can virtually travel the world understanding multi cultures and histories. They also get entertainment in the form of videos and games and then there is their chance to communicate and stay in touch with their families and friends.
When you switch off the internet for them, all this is hindered. You are disadvantaging them in a skill that they need to survive in today’s world. You have to mention ‘computer and internet skills‘ even in resume these days, you know…
2. When you ban screen time, there will be lack of trust.
The one thing that every parent should give their child is trust. Without trust your child will never have the confidence in himself to be true to himself and others.
When you switch off the internet, your child will find ways to get on it. They may not be doing it in front of you but they will always be trying to find the passwords, keys and ways to get themselves on it secretly.
It isn’t like if you shut off the internet at your home, your child has it gone out of his life. He can get on the internet at other places like school or a friend’s place or even internet cafes. This means you cannot trust your child at all.
This will also mean that your child will not trust you either. They will ‘have fun’ at a friend’s place but they will not tell out of fear that you may get that banned too. What purpose have you fulfilled with banning the internet this way, again?
3. Don’t disadvantage yourself with the opportunity to educate.
As I was saying, when you switch off the internet at home, it means your child is going places to find that WIFI signal.
He will be seeing stuff, reading stuff, meeting people online and watching stuff too. Since you think that there is no internet at home, there is no reason to talk about it. That means, you are not educating your child about the proper way to use that channel.
What things your child should have watched, read or seen with appropriate guidance and supervision, your child is doing it on his own. You have given up on your responsibility and also opportunity to educate your own child.
When we, as parents educate our children, we do so with every right intention. We know our children. We know their faults and we know their strengths. We also know their temperaments. Our methods of teaching our children are tailor made according to the way the child is. In books and in schools, it is educating the mass. The language that every child understands will be used.
What I am saying is that when we rely on our education system or schools to educate our children there is a gap that remains. Nobody can educate your child the way you can, so why should you give up on that opportunity to teach your child the rights and wrongs (rights and lefts too) about the internet.
Wouldn’t it be more educative for them if you did it yourself?
4. They have no idea what ‘inappropriate’ is.
When you educate your child yourself, you educate him/her from their level of understanding. Different cultures and societies have different level of what is morally acceptable and what is not even though some practices are considered inappropriate by all.
When your children aren’t getting their moral education from you, they will differ in their thinking of liberal and conservative thinking.
If you live in a multicultural environment, there will be a clash of what you consider as right and what is indecent. When this form of thoughts arise, there will also be a rise in the “choice” of freedom of expression. There is a lot inappropriate freedom of expression these days, isn’t there?
5. When you ban screen time, children have no idea about ‘ cyber-safety’.
A parents main concern is always the safety of his child. Safety, whether it is online or offline, should always be talked about at home.
How will you talk about internet safety when you ban the internet? You have already sent out the message that it is “off topic” and inappropriate by banning it? There won’t be so many topics to make conversation… the important stuff will never make it to your dinner table.
When you have taken your child off the internet and he is going off to his friends place to surf the net, there is every chance that he may become a victim to internet predators. There is also a very high chance that he will not come to you in case he has been a victim of cyber bullying.
These are 5 reasons that I feel, are enough to shake us out of our belief that things will get better without the internet.
Tell me: are you bothered by your child’s internet usage? Do you worry about the impact of technology on your kids? Tell me in the comments!
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