Raising Kids in a Digital Age: Preventing Tech TantrumsDec. 8, 2018
Kids are drawn to technology. Talk to any high school teacher, and they will likely bemoan their student’s resistance to detach themselves from their phones. The next time you leave the house, look around and you’ll likely see kids walking down the sidewalk while staring at a device.
Good Tech, Bad Tech
You might notice young children watching videos from their backseats in the cars around you, and you might even see parents use tablets as a tool to pacify kids while they wait on their order at a restaurant. With the newest technology and content immediately available at your child’s fingertips, you may soon even notice that your little one knows more about Youtube than you do!
Technology is great... but with any great thing, there is also another, darker side. Try prying that tablet or phone away from your child to break their zombie-like technological grip, and you may just experience the mother of all tantrums. On top of that, tech is great when you know how to use it wisely!
5 Ways to Handle Tantrums
All kids have tantrums. Sometimes tantrums can be learning experiences that teach children important rules and boundaries, while teaching kids to calm themselves. Expect that kids will occasionally have the occasional tantrum, despite your best efforts to stymie them. Regardless, following the below tips will help keep those hiccups to a minimum, allowing you and your children to enjoy and benefit from technology.
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1. Control Content
There are wonderful tablets on the market that are made just for kids! Many popular manufacturers, like Amazon or Samsung produce a kid-friendly tablet with effective parental controls. There's a plenty of learning apps your can keep your kid glued to, while making it fun and yielding too. Made with kids in mind, you can customize your child’s tablet to meet their needs, and restrict internet access and apps.
If you let your child use your phone or tablet, both iOS and Android have options to either set multiple user accounts or password protect apps. With powerful controls, your child won’t indulge in content you’d otherwise argue over.
2. Tech is a Privilege, not a Right
Kids need to understand that they aren’t entitled to play or use devices each day. As the parent, you can set the rules for technology engagement, and you can use technology as a powerful motivator or incentive for kids.
While you might not want to use technology to bribe your children into good behavior, it can become an incentive or reward. Make sure your child knows that technology is something you bestow onto them for their benefit. It is not, however, an entitlement.
3. Set Limits
Make it a rule that your child can only view or play their devices for a set amount of time each day. Some devices make it possible to disable themselves after your child has played for the allotted amount of time. What to do after the time is up? Have your child take a break from technology.
Give them printable math worksheets, or work with flash cards to engage their mind without needing to use the tablet. Kids learn in a variety of ways, and technology is j ust a helping hand when it comes to education.
4. Tech is not a Pacifier
Educational apps for kids are a wonderful way to reinforce important skills. But so often, parents will use devices like tablets to keep their kids quiet when they don’t want them to “act up”. While it’s okay to keep your kids busy, some kids use their devices so often that they begin school expecting to be stimulated always, intolerant of boredom.
Again, a time limit, and the expectation that tech is a privilege will help your child avoid tantrums, while also learning to regulate their emotions without the constant flicker of a screen.
5. Restric Access to Anything that Costs Money
Since even the youngest kids are becoming adept at our own devices, the older they get, the more likely they are to fall to the temptation of buying add-ons for games, or downloading apps that cost you money, giving you an unexpected surprise when the phone bill arrives! Prevent this by restricting access to app stores by password protecting purchases.
Luckily there are ways to prevent your children from having these terrible tech tantrums, and with a little forethought, you and your child can enjoy the latest and greatest technology, drama free!