February 7, 2020

How to create a positive digital environment for your child

Written by Kate Aasa

Your child is growing up in a digital world and it’s natural to be unsure of the best ways to allow them to thrive in this environment whilst also keeping them safe. You might be happy to know that recent research by UNICEF shows that using digital technology in the right way can have a positive impact on young people. Here’s our how-to guide on making this work for your child. 

 

Make a family rule 

 

It’s important to remember, that for better or for worse, children are great mimics. So, like many other rules within the house, it’s good to apply the ‘it’s the same for everybody’ approach as much as possible. That means if you set your children an hour screen-time-limit in the evenings, you should try to stick to the same limit yourself. Alternatively, wait for them to go to bed before putting your feet up and watching a film.

 

Make time for offline play

 

It’s important to persuade your child away from excessive screen time but you should also be able to provide them with healthy alternatives. Offline play is crucial for your child to develop the social and emotional skills they’ll need to be happy and successful in life. Here’s some ideas to get the ball rolling: create a scrapbook of drawings and paintings, help them to practice their favourite sport and spend time exploring the outdoors with them.    

 

Encourage joint screen time

 

One of the most dangerous risks of your child using technology is them developing anti-social behaviour. That’s why you should encourage their screen time to be shared with another person where possible. Whether that’s allowing them to video-time their friends or limbering up your own fingers to play a video game with them, it’s important that they communicate with a person during screen time. Communication is the key to guarding against the insular nature of spending time with technology.   

 

Take the first step 

 

We can totally understand you wanting to keep your child away from technology in their early years but there will come a time when this becomes impossible. The best way to deal with this is to take the lead and help them to take their first step into the digital world. Introducing your child to the internet or a gaming app, for example, means that you can teach the best and safest ways to use technology. Plus, you can always enjoy the moment when you knew more about technology than them.

 

Creating a positive digital environment for your child is crucial for them to develop key life skills. Having a healthy relationship with technology will allow them to make the most of all its advantages, whilst also understanding that human interaction should remain central to their outlook.