Children nowadays spend more time on their devices than with their parents. They are mostly engaged in watching cartoons or playing games non-stop. Older kids are always texting friends and checking how many likes they got on their social media, refusing to put down their phones even on the dinner table.
Parents don’t have any choice nowadays but to accessorize their children with smartphones and other portable devices in this gadget-filled world. However, parents have to take responsibility for the behavior of their children and the moderation in the use of their gadgets as well.
As parents, you can definitely take steps to change this situation; it might be hard but not impossible.
Below are some ways to reduce your child’s addiction to gadgets:
- Parents should work as a team. As parents, you should discuss and decide how to tackle this situation together as a team.
- You should monitor what your child is watching on their devices. For example, for kids that are 3 years old or a bit above, there are some good kid’s TV shows that can be both educational and interesting. Children might easily get access to violent or sexually explicit videos when they are not supervised while on the internet in the privacy of their room. You should make sure to know what your child is doing on all their internet-connected devices.
- You should also set rules for the use of all devices at home. You should only allow the usage of mobile phones at certain hours, or after homework has been completed. It is important to have an open line of communication with your children as they get older and start using the internet more independently. Set rules on time limits for playing games, logging on to the internet and messaging and stick to your rules.
- Some people in chat rooms are not who they claim to be and parents and children as well need to be alert to this. So parents should address online stranger dangers, you should remind your child that everyone online is a stranger. Tell them never to give out their real address or phone numbers to anyone they meet online. Encourage them to let you know about anything that they might encounter on the internet that makes them feel worried, uncomfortable or embarrassed.
- Spend time with your kids, especially when they are young. You should spend lots of time with your child when they are young.
- You should inculcate time for the noble Qur’an in them. Take your children to the library and read the Qur’an with them, or have your own small library at home and set a time for reading the Qur’an every day.
- You should also practice what you preach to your children. Kids are known to imitate their parents. If you are a parent that spends more time with your laptop/phone than with your family, then you should limit this and try and spend more time with the family. If your kids see that you are always engaged with your devices, they will also do the same.
- You should also provide alternatives. You can slowly include some daily activities with your children that will help them stay away from their gadgets for longer periods of time. Such activities may include going swimming, bike riding, or walking. Also teach children skills like sewing, knitting or gardening. These will really consume a lot of their time in a healthy way.