In my previous post, I mentioned few technical ways to place restrictions on devices used by your child. If you missed it, you can read it here - 5 ways to restrict and monitor screen time
In this post, let's step away from the technical aspect and focus on two essential accessories.
Technology has incredibly advanced. We can cloak and place restrictions on what's not allowed. But the truth about embedding restriction is - there are ways to get around, and a 'jailbreak' is almost always possible.
If you have a child at home or have been with one, you are well aware that they are naturally curious and find it challenging to bridle their curiosity. (that goes for adults too!)
So, as parents and caregivers, we need to educate kids about the consequences of their action. Teach them to discern right from wrong when it comes to device viewing behaviours.
Course essentials for kids and screens
Cybersecurity is vital. Educate your kids on internet abuses like cyberbullying, cybercrimes, and not take the Internet's Word as the 'ultimate'. (article worth reading)
The Internet can become a tangled web. We have all participated in hours of aimless browsing and displayed addiction to various apps mindlessly. Misuse of the Internet can consume a person and eventually control an individual if not kept in check. Don't leave kids unmonitored while on the Internet. Set time limits. Encourage kids to talk/share what they learned or encountered while browsing. Make time and be fully present while they talk. Don't rush them.
Talk to them about the importance of time and opportunity they receive. Couch potatoes do not make great french fries. French fries are best when it's bite-sized, crunchy, the right temperature and seasoned with right spices. In the same way, digital viewing should include age-appropriate, multi-flavoured and gentle seasoning of values that build one up. It doesn't have to be academics all the while. Ensure they get the best out of screen time / online resources. Look for their interest along with ensuring it matches their skill and educational needs. Here are a few to name - Duolingo, Khan Academy, Code.org, Draw Every Day with JJK, Epic, storyweaver along with a bit of their fav web series.
There is no age constraint to start on this.
The Bible (Proverbs 10:9) states, A man with integrity is protected, but a wicked man will get exposed.
Course essentials for Integrity 101
Be an example. Children learn sans words, often silently notice without much thought and then replicate it frivolously. I have a refrigerator magnet that says, 'Our children are watching us live and what we are shouts louder than anything we can say.' Suppose you have a habit of continually glancing over your phone or browse retail websites aimlessly while at work, then you know it's time to switch to a more fruitful practice.
Use a guided learning method. Walk alongside and don't leave your kids to figure it out on their own. Assist them when they face a tempting situation. My daughter recently had to work on her revision test paper for Social Studies. It was due for submission by 5 PM. She wasn't sure of one particular question and was worried about answering it incorrectly. She walked out of her room and innocently asked me if she could study the answer again and write it down before handing in her paper. I replied, 'It's a test paper, so write it as if you were in the classroom in the presence of an invigilator'. She wasn't pleased with what I said. I added, 'Your teacher knows well that all kids may not get a perfect score. A test is never about getting perfect grades. It’s about what you understand. She will notice that blank space and remember your honesty for a very long time.' That lifted her heart, and she submitted the paper with a blank space next to that question. Children need explanation. Be there to give one.
Dear Parents/ Caregivers, any age is an excellent opportunity to influence character building. Restrictions that we place are just a stopgap. The little people in our lives will soon turn into adults, leave the nest and be far from our monitoring eyes.
The way they are shaped now, will be the only thing that can help them stand their ground.