6 Good Parenting Techniques for Smart Phones
Have you noticed, maybe the last time you were at a park or kid-friendly space, all you saw were parents (with good intentions) with their eyes glued to their phones?
Or, when you were out having a nice family dinner at your favorite restaurant, did you notice that the entire family was on devices?
Obviously, living in the tech-addicted world we’re in, you may have found yourself spending way too much time on some type of device, or checking your phone as if your life depended on it. 😬
When it comes to digital technology, we are a part of a growing body of Americans addicted to their smartphones and the internet is literally robbing us of our minds. Unfortunately, not only are we affecting our mental and physical health, we are putting our good parenting skills at risk.
We are putting our kids in an unfavorable position that no other children in any different generations have been in before; having to compete for our attention from a hand-held device. We become, essentially, the best examples to our kids of how to connect to technology and disconnect from people. In today’s busy and demanding culture, how can we do better? The good news is that we have choices. More than you might think. Here are 6 tricks to ensure good parenting in today’s Digital Age.
Good Parenting Tip 1: Turn off all notifications
This made a huge difference in my personal mobile usage. By turning off most of my notifications and only leaving the most critical notifications on, I was able to gain back the control I once had over where I spent my time.
What are the crucial apps you really need? For me, it meant the phone and the alarm. I told my family and friends that if they needed me right away, they would have to call me. Yes, I turned off all text notifications. When I want to know if someone’s texted me, I have to press the text icon to see if I have any new texts. And you know what? It is just fine. Actually, more than fine.
My anxiety has been reduced and I am in charge of my phone instead of it being in charge of me! That works for me but may not work for you. I encourage you to try my way for 2 weeks and see what happens. You might love it!
BONUS: After about 6 months of this, I deleted Facebook and Instagram from my phone. Now I have to go to my iPad or computer to log in. I’m still active (I love Facebook!) but I do so mindfully and no longer am I “multi-tasking” while watching TV or talking to family. I’m more focused on them than I am on my device!
Good Parenting Tip 2: Have essential apps only on your home screens
When I have specific apps on my home screen, I found that I would tap into those a lot more frequently than other apps on my phone. So, what’s the smart thing to do? Remove all these non-essential apps that are luring me to open them to check into them. I also make sure that the really addictive apps, such as games and specific social media platforms, are held in folders where it takes me more effort to open them up. That way, I am less likely to go into them.
Good Parenting Tip 3: Time block your own screen time
Just as you give screen time to your kids, you should set an example by doing the same and time-blocking specific times of the day when you can go on the internet or play with your phone. Put it on a big calendar somewhere visible in your house and make house rules about the usage of digital devices, i.e., no devices at the dinner table or while you have family bonding time.
Good Parenting Tip 4: Only check your social media on a desktop or laptop
When you make it difficult to access your social media accounts, you are less likely to jump on them to spend endless hours getting envious over pictures of your friends who just took a vacation in Cabo while you are suffering in the snowy weather. We too often compare our good parenting skills to those of others displayed on social media accounts, thus decreasing our self-worth as a parent. This is a toxic situation that neither you nor your kids will benefit from.
Good Parenting Tip 5: Charge your phone outside of your bedroom
Make it a habit of leaving your phone alone 30 minutes before bedtime, not only will you wake up better without hitting the snooze button and falling back asleep in the morning. Research has shown that the blue light that is emitted by our digital devices can strain your eyes and keep you up longer at night, causing insomnia and other detriments to your good parenting style. This includes Netflix on the iPad (as a lover of binge-worthy shows, this has been harder than the other tips for me).
Good Parenting Tip 6: Replace your phone habit with a hobby
Find a hobby that you can enjoy with your kids, whether that’s picking up crafting as a hobby or joining a new sports league. Fill your screen time with productive activities that both your children and you will enjoy. Habits, especially bad practices, can’t be changed, they need to be replaced.
To put connected parenting as a priority in your life, you may find it much easier to nip your digital device addiction in the bud if you see something else you can occupy your time with. I read books. On my Kindle, via Audible on my phone, and even a paperback in my hands!