create a healthy family media diet

With the advent of smart devices that make internet easily accessible, it’s next to impossible to keep your kids away from the ‘screens’. Well, screen time may not be as bad as it sounds too. After all, some part of your kid’s learning happens there too. It’s simply about striking the right balance and inculcating a healthy media diet in the family. It’s always a tough call when it comes to deciding what’s right for children in today’s highly digitized world. We worry about:

  • How much screen time is OK? Specifically, how much internet surfing time is healthy?
  • Which internet sites are reliable sources for reading?
  • Is gaming online OK? Or will it turn into a problem later?
  • Is there a way to know what kids do online?

The truth of the matter is that kids cannot be separated from the use of smartphones and the internet. So, instead of trying to keep them away from these gadgets and gizmos, it’s time for us to get smarter and use technology to create a healthy family media diet! Here are a few tips and recommendations to help you :

Find balance – It’s important that you do not count minutes while trying to restrict screen times. Striking a balance between the internet and other activities is an important step. Ensure that the screen time is replaced with an equally interesting activity that kids like. If it’s not something they enjoy, there’s no way you can pull them out of their internet time. Reading, sports, playground times could be a good compensation.

Walk the talk – Well, if kids are implementing a healthy media diet, everyone in the family must follow. You cannot sit with a smartphone all day and expect your kids to stay away from them. You have to practice it too and they will automatically follow.

Creating tech-free zones – You can set rules for your family as to when gadgets are allowed and when they are not. For example, set aside a family time where no one brings their electronic devices. Also, you can set specific times when they can – such as homework time.

Choose the right media – Make sure that your kids use age-appropriate media and browse websites that you know about. Install a phone tracker app – One way to ensure that your kids use their internet time appropriately is by installing an app that can not just track phone calls, but also log the websites that the kids visited, the apps downloaded or deleted, the messages sent (and received) and also send you an automated email with the detailed logs. Once you have this app installed, it helps you monitor everyone’s time online. You can even check out the apps usage and the time spent on each app. Furthermore, with GPS enabling, you can also track the location of your family member. Mobile tracking apps are a key to safeguard your kid’s online time and create an environment for them which is not too restrictive and yet safe enough to happily use media and technology to their advantage.