The digital distraction of your kids. How do you manage it?

As if raising a child weren’t challenging enough, technology has brought new situations for families to deal with. How, and how long, can kids enjoy technology without harm? Every parent wants to do the best for their kids, and setting screen time, in most families, involves negotiations, protests, and, sometimes, success. But parents must take the initiative and decide.

What if there is a different way to set screen time?

“Becoming indistractable is the most important skill for the 21st century — and it’s one that many parents fail to teach their kids,” Nir Eyal, a Stanford psychology expert, writes on cnbc.com. “After years of studying the intersection of psychology, technology and how we engage with it, one of the biggest mistakes I see parents making is not empowering their kids with the autonomy to control their own time.”

The expert thinks parents should have confidence that their children can manage their own screen time and give them the freedom to do so. He gives the example of his daughter who, at 5 learned that “spending too much time with apps and videos meant less time to play with friends at the park, swim at the community pool, or be with Mom and Dad.” Step by step, she learned to find a balance between the online and the offline, setting her own limit of 45 minutes of screen time per day. Creating her own rules helped her respect them at the same time.

Empowering children and giving them the responsibility of setting their own screentime

If you want to try this, here are some steps mentioned by the expert to make the process smoother.

  • Tell children that too much online time means less time for their favorite offline activities
  • Help kids understand that their favorite games, social networks, and apps are designed to hook them and take over their attention and time
  • Give them autonomy to control their own screen time and let them choose the tools to keep track of it.

Anything from a kitchen timer to a personal assistant is better to keep track of screentime than a parent. The psychological explanation is that the kid feels in charge because she/ he decided it but also because it is easier to hear that time’s up from a device.

An excellent example of how children can use technology to deal with technology is the Bitdefender Parental Control feature in several of our security solutions – Bitdefender Internet Security, Bitdefender Total Security, Bitdefender Family Pack, and Bitdefender BOX. You can empower and teach children to use it themselves, as a timer, but also as a tool to protect them from cyberbullies and predators.

Bitdefender Parental Control can be synchronized with personal assistants, so children can ask them how much time they have spent on devices, and do the calculation to see what they have left if they don’t use it all at once.

Bitdefender Parental Control was created to keep children safe on many levels, and you can involve them in using it to help them become more aware and in control of their digital lives.

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