Summer is here, which means more screen time battles. Here are three things you need to do right now to save your sanity.
A family technology contract
Brainstorm with your kids what the rules should be, how much screen time is acceptable, how to act online, who they can connect and communicate with, and what the consequences will be if they break the rules.
Having them help create the rules makes them more invested and helps them learn to self-regulate. If you need a template, we have a free one on our website.
Manage screen time
There are several ways, so get creative!
- Chore list or chore chart: do these chores, have X amount of time (in total or per chore)
- Time-based: allowed X amount of time per day as long as XYZ is done – use a simple kitchen timer to manage or an app like Qustodio – or the child can only use screens at a certain time of day, if all chores are done (after lunch or dinner, for example)
- Rewards – assign an amount of earned time to an activity or behavior you want to encourage. For example, a popular one is reading: reading for 30 minutes = 30 minutes screen time.
Apps like Screen Time or Family Link can help you manage time spent on devices.
Monitor, restrict and physically check devices
Do these three things:
- Choose a monitoring tool that works for your family, some options include OurPact, Net Nanny, and Bark. If you want to explore more, we have about 26 listed with their functionality on our website.
- Use the restrictions that come with the device. Every device now has built in controls, Screen Time for IOS or Family Link for Google/Android - they are easy to use and provide good options for managing your child’s device.
- Physically check devices regularly – things can slip through monitoring tools and restrictions. This is important! We're not saying read every text and look at every pic. But give the device a quick once-over and see if there is anything new or anything you need to talk to your child about.
Talk! Keeping your kids safe online means having ongoing conversations with your child about how to behave and manage their online life. These conversations (not lectures!) should start early and happen often. If you need help visit our website for conversation starters.
With these three things in place managing your child’s digital world this summer should be much easier!
I'm a social media professional and mom to two boys. I started Hashtag Parenting because I saw many moms and dads struggling to keep up with parenting in the changing digital landscape - including myself! The ever-changing apps, myriad monitoring solutions, and the texting lingo! Whew. I wanted to make it easier to find the most recent information, all in one place. I hope this site is a source of information and support for you. Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn by clicking the icon directly below.