Chances are if you’ve gone to the mall, a basketball game, or even just been around children in general, you’ve probably noticed how attached kids are to electronic devices these days. Whether it’s a laptop, tablet, or phone, you usually don’t see a child go anywhere without one. With this being the case, it means that children are more attached to phones, and more detached from society. This can be a scary thing, knowing that they are interacting less with you, and more with random people on the internet. Many parents express worry, because children sometimes will fall away from hanging out with friends and having real human interaction, and instead choose to chat with people online.
If you are one of those parents that is looking to find some ways to get your kids off of Instagram and into the real world, the following tips are for you. Here at Cobos Insurance, we believe in families, and families are only successful when they spend time together. These tips will not only help your kids become closer with people in real-life, but they will also help your family be closer and have that strong bond!
If you resonate with any of these things, read on to find out how to safeguard your children from too much social media.
Set up Limits for Your Kids
Your kids can’t follow guidelines that they do not know about, so why would they limit their own social media use if you’ve never been upfront about how much they can actually use it?
A huge part of getting your kids to follow rules and guidelines is to give them rules and guidelines. This might seem obvious, but some families have never really even talked with their kids about this issue. Your kids are kids, and they need to be told what to do in order to become the adults you want to see them become. By setting specific limits and making sure to communicate these to your children ahead of time, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches and fights. This is the first and, quite frankly, most important step when learning how to safeguard your children from too much social media use.
Set Up Screen Time Limitations
Something many people don’t realize is that you can set actual limits on your child’s phone, and you can even lock the limits with a passcode. There’s also a special feature called “set up screen time for family” that allows you to control your family’s devices. This is Apple product specific, but it is definitely worth searching and looking into for other brands of phones.
There are two great ways to take advantage of Apple’s limits. One way is by using the “downtime” option. This is where you can set a schedule for when your kids can use their apps, and you can even choose certain apps to still be usable during “downtime,” like phone calls or alarm apps, for example.
The other option is to use the “app limits” feature. This feature lets you add time limits for specific apps. Have the kids hit their 1 hour social media limit for the day? Their phone will let them know, and disable the app until the next day.
Apple was really thinking of parents and was definitely trying to be aware of how to safeguard your children from too much social media use when they made these settings! App limits and setting downtime for your kids is a major way that you can prevent your child from spending what may seem like every minute of every day on social media.
Knowing What They’re Looking At
Many parents fear less about how much time their children are spending on social media, and more about what they’re doing or looking at on social media. The world can be a scary place, and social media gives children access to all of that. If your children are younger, you have a lot more control over what they do and see, but if they’re older, it gets a little more difficult to interfere and control.
For younger kids, a great tip is to monitor what you follow, and to lead by example. Most kids just want to be like mommy and daddy. They want to be grown up like you and do the things you do. If you start them off seeing positive and appropriate media when they’re young, this teaches them what to look at and follow once they’re older. By making social media something that your family talks about and maybe even uses together, you’re doing one of the most important steps in safeguarding your children from too much social media, specifically too much of the wrong kind of social media.
One thing that you could do for children who are just starting to use social media, is to find some appropriate and positive accounts, and have them follow those accounts. You could even set up a rule where your children have to get permission before following someone new, and monitor who they follow. This may seem overbearing, but in the end, it greatly helps your kids to become the best person that they can be, and it keeps them away from inappropriate things.
To Sum It All Up…
To wrap up the topic of how to safeguard your children from too much social media use, it really comes down to having honest and open discussions with them. Instead of expecting them to know how much time they can spend on social media, or who they are allowed to follow on their accounts, discuss these things with them.
Instead of yelling or getting angry when they spend too much time on their phone, explain why you would like them to not do that, and allow them to be a part of the discussion. By talking with your children and not at them, you don’t make them want to sneak around and do something they shouldn’t, but you create an open dialogue that simply explains why it’s important for them to not live on social media.
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