- A beneficial relationship with technology is one where there is a healthy balance between technology use (online or offline) and other hobbies, interests and activities (including exercise). For each child this balance may be different depending on their use of technology and the internet.
- The amount of screen time a child has each day can be a cause of worry for parents and carers. However, it is important to recognise that the amount of time spent on devices is not as important as the quality of the activities a child is engaged in. Activities that require communication, problem solving and creativity can be more beneficial than passive activities (such as watching TV shows online).
- Some research has suggested that technology use close to bedtime can affect good quality sleep. Some studies suggest that blue light emitted from device screens can affect sleep patterns. Other studies suggest that using technology close to bedtime or having technology in the bedroom can be too stimulating and also affect sleep. Devices that frequently send notifications could encourage a child to use their device frequently and during the night.
- There are physical symptoms related to unhealthy use of technology. These can include tired/sore eyes, headaches, back/neck pains or negative mood. Some studies have suggested that unhealthy use of technology can also be linked with unhealthy diets.
- Work with your child to control which apps can send notifications on a device. These controls can be found in the device settings.
- The devices your child uses may include tools to help manage the time spent on different apps and activities. Explore these settings and discuss with your child how these could be used.
- A good way to help your child balance their technology time is to set clear time limits for different activities and give them regular reminders. You can also use the alarm clock on a device as a way to set reminders.
- Depending on your family’s use of technology, you may wish to create an agreement to help balance online/offline activities – this could include a general timetable for family members to help plan out their time. Always invite your child to help create this agreement but don’t be afraid to set your own rules and expectations.
- Encouraging a broad range of activities, hobbies and interests is a positive way to help your child balance their time on and off technology. Your approach to balancing time online and offline makes you an important role model to your child.