Computers and other similar devices offer kids a world of possibilities, but they can also be addictive — to the point that your kid doesn’t want to do anything else, and pitches a fit if you try to get them to do otherwise. Sound familiar? If you’ve noticed that your child is on the computer more than you are comfortable with, here are some things you can do to help them.
Identify Other Interests
One way to get your child off the computer is to help them identify other interests. It’s not enough to simply toss a kid into the backyard without any clue what to do. Actively help your child in finding something outside the house that they want to pursue, and nurture them on that path. My Kids’ Adventures suggests teaching them how to play bottle bowling, tag, hide and go seek, hula hooping, and giant pick-up sticks. Start with interests your child might already have that aren’t related to the computer, and work from there. A new interest will leave less time for online pastimes, and this will help take care of the technology addiction.
Make it Healthier
For a child who still uses the computer for long periods of time, make it as healthy as possible. According to StandUpDesks.com, stand-up desks offer some health benefits for the neck and spines, as well as the rest of the body. It’s better for your child to stand while using the computer than to sit all day without using any muscles in the lower body. There are desks and chairs created to help computer users with posture. Still, it’s important for your child to know that risks are associated with extended computer use. Eye damage from staring at a screen for too long is a real problem. Childhood obesity is also a risk for a youngster who spends most of the day in front of a screen.
Lead by Example
You may need to use your computer for work when your kids are around. However, it’s important to set clear boundaries and stick to them so your kids will see a wise example of how to manage technology. Tell your kids when you are working on the computer and what you are doing. Explain how you manage tasks when using technology, and give them tips that will keep them from getting distracted. Tell them how you restrict this use and why. Then, let them know you’re done and participate in something with your kids. Plus, you’ll have more time to interact with your children if you aren’t using the computer all the time.
Computers are not bad — in fact, the way that children are becoming familiar with computers and how they work from a young age gives them a technological advantage that will serve them well later in life. However, it’s up to you to teach them how to set limits and how to use computers judiciously.