Prying technology from tweenagers can be a never-ending nightmare. So how do you stay in control?
There’s a lot of chatter amongst parents about setting rules for tweenagers (that is kids around 10 to 12 years old) around their use of technology. It’s an uphill battle most parents struggle with. Tweens rely on today’s tech for everything, from staying in touch to showcasing their lives and staying ‘relevant’ socially. We don’t have to look far to find examples of how tech is both damaging and enhancing the lives of our kids – it leaks into everything doesn’t it?
Tweens will not set their own boundaries. We, as parents need to make sure we do. Below are a three golden rules to make sure tech is not in charge and YOU are.
Use of devices should be in front of you
If your tween uses their device(s) in front of you, you’re able to monitor or at least be more looped in to what they are accessing. I’ve heard parents say they’ll just access stuff elsewhere, so what’s the point? However, if they have an anchor to refer to – i.e. your rules – it’s more likely that they will be aware of what’s okay and what isn’t. And that’s always a good thing.
Getting your tween to complete their homework (or chores) before jumping on their device is a challenge. By no means am I underestimating this huge ask. But if you do manage to do it, the benefits will be long term. They will learn self-discipline, patience and responsibility. It will also help them avoid the distraction and procrastination that goes with TV watching and will enhance their enjoyment of said distraction – because nothing will be hanging over them.
Have conversations about security online, how to block people, how to limit/ restrict people and how to be wise about who to follow and who to ‘friend’. Now I know that clocking up millions of friends is what your child will want to do and there is a limit to what you can control, but this is no reason to avoid the discussion.
I know implementing rules can be tougher than it sounds. But remember that all the effort you make will make a difference to how your tweenagers interact with and view technology.