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5 Tips On Getting Kids To Spend Less Time “Plugged-In”

Written by James Kicinski-McCoy

Photography by Photographed by James Kicinski-McCoy

Kids and technology tends to be a familiar topic here on Mother. We live in fast times, and it seems as though new developments in phones, tablets, apps, and the like can happen in the blink of the eye—constantly moving, constantly evolving. So much so that it can be tough to delineate where to draw the line when it comes to your kids and their devices. When does harmless entertainment transform into unhealthy habit? It can be hard to tell. To provide insight on the matter, we talked to Co-Founder and President of BusyKid, Mike Pruinski. Read his tips, below, on getting kids (young and old) to stop, focus, and listen when it comes to technology and spending quality time.

Lead By Example
A study conducted last year by AVG Technologies found that 32 percent of children surveyed felt unimportant when their parents were distracted by their phones. In addition, 54 percent of those kids thought their parents spent too much time on said devices. It’s time that we, as parents, set a good example for our kids by diminishing our own screen time, too.

Enough Is Enough
It’s estimated that kids spend between 8-10 hours a day on phones, tablets, or laptops. And, that number doesn’t even include the time technology is used for school. If that statistic holds true in your household, there may be moments when you look up and everyone’s glued to their device of choice. That said, it might be time to consider taking back control of your family, and cutting back on technology. Set limits on how much time is spent focusing on social networks, texting, games or videos.

Just The Basics
It can still be a bit puzzling why any child under the age of 15 needs a $600 mobile phone with all the bells and whistles. You may want to consider getting kids the phone basics—calling, texting, and email. Anything more may be unnecessary. However, if your child wants something advanced, consider having them earn it by helping out around the house, working for an allowance, and contributing to the monthly bill.

Not At The Table
It should be an unwritten rule that anytime the family is eating together, meals are a phone-free zone. No calls, no texts, no snaps, no tweets. A survey by the National Center For Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that families spend around 20 minutes eating dinner together. Try keeping the technology away at this time, and instead try talking about what’s going on in each other’s lives.

Go To Bed
There are numerous medical studies that show why having your child go to bed with their phone or tablet is a bad idea. However, one study in particular, showed that teens who take technology to bed with them send an average of 34 texts and messages a night after lying down. Sleep is more important!

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