We are in the digital age. It’s no wonder why children of today seem to come out of the womb with ready knowledge on how to use computers. Younger generation grew up with modern technology as an essential part of their everyday lives. Computers to them are like TVs for us 90’s kids. Unfortunately, many studies have already proven spending too much time on the internet has a significant amount of negative effects on younger users. Internet overuse could put your child at risk of living an unhealthy lifestyle, engaging with cyber criminals, and more. As a parent, you need to make sure that your children’s screen time is in moderation.
How can I restrict my child’s computer searches? It’s really pretty easy. You can do it by using the parental control features that are built-in on your computers. Both the Windows and Mac OS have options that allow the parents to set a specific number of hours for their kids’ screen time. Both also offer a way to assign the exact time when their children can use the computer. On top of all that, there are also a couple more ways to ensure that the entire family has a good, balanced relationship with their personal computers, phones, and tablets. Some of them
How do you limit your children’s computer use?
There are a wide array of applications and browser extensions that you can download online to limit your kids’ computer time. But believe it or not, your computer is actually already equipped with all the things that you need in order to reduce your children’s screen time. Computers running on both Windows and Mac OS have built-in parental controls. If you don’t know how to activate them, just read on. Below are the instructions on how to toggle this feature for both Windows and Mac users:
- On Windows
The first thing you need to do is to sign in to your Microsoft account. Next, you have to open the “Settings”, click on “Accounts”, go to “Family & other people”, and then choose “Add a family member”. Assist your child in setting up their own account by helping them fill out the fields shown with the necessary details. Afterwards, go to the “Screen Time” option under their account. There, you’ll be free to decide your kids’ “Daily allowance” or the number of hours that they are allowed to use the computer in each day. You are also given the chance to appoint the specific times that they can have access to it.
- On Mac
For Mac users, you’d have to go to the main menu, click on “System Preferences”, then tap the “Parental Controls”. Set up a new user account for your child by indicating their age range, full name, account name, and password. Once you’re done doing that, go back to “Parental Control” section, find their username, the click on the “Time” tab. There, you can set time limits for weekdays and weekends by ticking on the box that says “Limit weekday/weekend use to”. On the “Bedtime” section, you can specify the times when they can’t gain access to the computer. Make sure to tap the padlock on the bottom part of the window to lock your current settings.
What are other ways that you can reduce children’s gadget use?
Asides from using a software to control your children’s online screen time, here are couple more tips that would help you guarantee that your entire household has a healthy relationship with gadgets:
- Be a role model.
You can’t expect your kids to obey your advice if they can see that you can’t obey it yourself. If you want them to spend less time on the internet, you got to do it too. Show them that you aren’t at all reluctant to spend some time away from your electronics. Make them realize that there’s more to life than what they see on their computer or phone screens. Your children look up to you. You hold the most influence in their lives. Once they see that you can do it, they’ll be more inclined to do it too.
- Understand and compromise.
Before you can convince them to understand your point of view regarding gadgets, you’d have to understand it from theirs too. Don’t act like you’ve never been addicted to watching too much TV when you were young! Talk to them about it and listen as to why they might be reluctant to letting their electronics go. Maybe they’re playing that game because it’s what’s in these days and they don’t want to be off the loop. Maybe it’s their only way to connect with their friends outside of school. After knowing their reason, come to a compromise that would make the both of you happy.
- Make them understand.
In the same way, you also need to explain your point-of-view regarding internet overuse. Make sure that they know that you’re not just doing this to be mean. Go into detail about the negative effects of using too much internet. Illustrate how spending too much time online could be harmful and unhealthy. Put across that you’re doing this for their own wellbeing and not just for kicks.
- Establish tech-free areas in your house.
Create areas in your house where any gadgets are absolutely not allowed. For example, have all electronics banned when entering the dining room in your household. This gives you the opportunity to have a family conversation during meals without phone notifications getting in the way.
- Set up a specific time to hit the switch.
Determine a definitive schedule for when the whole family is supposed to disconnect from the online world. It could be when the kids are supposed to do their homework, an hour before bedtime, or during dinner, whatever works for all of you. Doing so would inculcate your kids with a sense of discipline and time-sensitivity.
- Show them other ways to have fun.
Encourage your child to read a book, play outside, or engage in sports. Suggest them other recreational activities that they can enjoy offline.
Why do you need to limit your child’s internet use?
Spending too much time on the internet could negatively impact your kids’ lifestyle and wellbeing. The following are possible repercussion of excessive computer and internet use:
- Lack of sleep
Overuse of the internet can interfere with your children’s sleeping schedule. The blue light emanated from the screens of their gadgets can trick the eyes into thinking it is still daylight so it forces the body to stay awake. On top of that, the stimulating content found on the internet could also be a factor. It’s harder to fall asleep when instead of doing so they are rather watching funny videos on Youtube or scrolling through their social media accounts.
- Failing in school
The internet could be a useful tool in studying. After all, it could give you almost every single information that you might need right under your fingertips. Unfortunately, some children take this privilege for granted. Instead of using the internet for learning, they use it as a means of procrastination. It becomes a distraction. It’s difficult to focus on studying for a test, if their mind is still focused on that show that they were just binge-watching on Netflix. It’s harder to find the motivation to finish doing their homework if they’re playing that online game with their friends. This behavior could negatively affect your kids’ performance at school.
- Exposure to sensitive media
Coming across off-color content while you’re on the internet is inevitable. Images and videos depicting sexual acts, public indecency, or other forms of debauchery circulating online and making its way through everyone’s feed aren’t news anymore. It’s almost ordinary at this point. Since kids are at the age where they’re the most curious and impressionable, what they see on the internet might be translated to how they act in real life.
- Vulnerability to predators
Predators are everywhere, even on the internet. During their time online, they might come across various dangers like hackers, scammers, malwares, viruses, and even cyberbullies.
Too much of anything is dangerous. Just like everything in life, computers, phones, tablets, and the internet must be enjoyed in moderation. Use this opportunity to teach your kids the value of discipline and self-control. Maintaining a healthy and balanced relationship with gadgets can help your kids realize that they can delight in something without letting it completely take over them. Anyways, these tools are there for them to use, not the other way round.