7 Ways to Reduce Kids Tech UseAndrea Roxas
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With the Internet, video games, TV, and cell phones (can you say texting?), theres no doubt this generation of kids is on tech overload. A recent study by the Kaiser Foundation showed that kids between 9 and 18 now spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes a day on electronic devices and digital technology — thats more than 50 hours a week. Add to that an actual summer break, and youve got a potential tech zombie on your hands. The solution? Weve got a few ways you can reduce your kids tech time — without short-circuiting your sanity.
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1: Set rules
The same Kaiser Foundation study found that when parents set any media rules, their kids technology use was almost three hours lower per day. You can start small with rules like no texting at the dinner table or allowing video games only on the weekends. You can also set actual time limits on Internet use. Parental software like TimesUpKidz can help you do this.
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2: Keep a log
The National Institute of Health recommends limiting a childs screen time to no more than 2 hours per day. Try keeping a one-week log of how much time your child spends playing video games, surfing the Internet, and/or watching TV. Think of it as the equivalent to a food journal; realizing how much time your kids actually spend on technology will push you to get them on a better technology diet.
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3: Put chores first
Show that tech time is a privilege, not a right, by only allowing your kids to use technology after theyve finished their homework and chores. Whether its cleaning their rooms, taking the garbage out, or feeding the dog, start a chore chart of daily tasks your kids must complete to keep their media use — and your household! — in check.
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4: Lead by example
Lets face it: youre not going to get your kids to limit their tech use if youre lying on the couch every afternoon watching Real Housewives marathons on Bravo (not that we blame you). Cut your TV consumption and, ahem, Facebook sessions, and your kids will be more likely to follow suit.
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5: Set up friend dates
If your kid has someone to play with, together theyll be more inspired to have fun outside or do group activities rather than watching TV or cruising the Internet (which people tend to do alone out of boredom, anyway). So set up some friend dates throughout the week and take turns watching the kids with fellow parents. Youll be giving each other a break during the summer while also giving your kids a break from technology.
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6: Have an arsenal of activities on hand
If your kids are turning to technology because they dont have anything to do, give them things to do! Keep some fun activities in your back pocket and be ready to pull them out at the drop of a hat or the start of a rainy day. Sound impossible? Weve done the hard part for you. Get started here.
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7: No TVs in the bedroom
The Kaiser study found that kids with TVs in their bedrooms spend an hour more in front of the screen per day, so getting rid of those extra TVs is an easy enough solution. And who knows? Having no TVs in their rooms just might encourage your kids to use their imaginations a little bit more. .