In the midst of the digital age, it is natural for children to have access to technology at an early age and grow up knowing this world. However, controlling the children’s internet is vital so that the little ones do not become addicted to the virtual world.
That the internet has brought many benefits and that the use of technology in education has many advantages no one disputes. However, the risks of excessive screen use , particularly by children, range from loss of social and cognitive skills— concentration and memory—to vision problems, sleep disorders, and childhood depression . Therefore, it is good to debate the control of the children’s internet .
Not to mention that unsupervised browsing can expose children to bad content, very violent games and even contact with dangerous adults. Therefore, even though technology is part of the daily life of the little ones, it is necessary to see it closely.
Points to keep an eye on when controlling your children’s internet
The first point in controlling children’s internet is the total time of exposure to screens , whether on the computer, tablet or cell phone. But what is the ideal time? There is no right answer to this question.
According to pediatricians, contact with screens should be avoided until the age of two , being released gradually, gradually increasing the time of exposure, as the children grow. However, this does not mean that at any given time the usage time should be free.
Even we adults had to be careful not to exaggerate the total hours we spent online. Even the behavior of parents has a great influence on the time that their children are connected.
For starters, some parents forbid use during the week, but it’s good that this doesn’t mean leaving all Saturday with the device in hand. It’s good to set a limit of one to two hours a day , especially at school age, for controlling your children’s internet. Therefore, the ideal is to use common sense and seek moderation, according to the age and routine of the child, but always having limits.
Block access to bad content
One of the biggest dangers of the internet is early exposure to age-inappropriate content, which is why blocking access to certain sites is vital.
To do this, just configure your internet provider. In general, it already has pre-programmed filter options. Therefore, if you encounter problems, contact the service center and ask for guidance on how to do it.
However, more important than blocking access is having an open dialogue to control the internet with your child . Even because, as access to social networks, email and chats grows, the risks also increase. It is always good to show children that the internet can be a very useful medium, but care must be taken when using it.
The more comfortable talking to parents about any subject the little ones feel, the safer the navigation will be. So, have that channel open by exercising positive parenting .
Take appliances away from the bedroom
One of the major concerns about the excessive use of screens is the influence on children’s sleep quality. So never allow your child to get into the habit of lying down to sleep with the cell phone in hand.
It is best to leave appliances such as a TV, computer and video game out of the bedroom. In addition to preserving the sleeping environment, it is easier for parents to control their children’s internet when the computer is in a common area of the house, such as the living room or office.
Internet use: separate technology-free times
In the quest to control the time your child stays connected, determining technology-free schedules seems to be a good way to go. For example, in addition to school hours, separate mealtimes and a two-hour period before bed with your cell phone free .
A tip is to limit the habit of charging the family’s cell phones in a neutral place, for example in the kitchen or in the living room, always after a certain time of the night. Thus, for that period, the devices must be kept away from everyone.
It’s always easier when habits are created from the start, but if by chance the situation has gotten out of hand and you’re needing to tighten the reins, turning off the Wi-Fi network at the right time can be a way out.
Show other forms of leisure
As important as controlling the children’s internet is promoting chances of leisure away from it. When young, it is natural for parents to be concerned about taking their children to the square to sunbathe and play outdoors, as it is necessary to maintain these habits, which are also important for family happiness .
During the week, include fun activities in the children’s schedule and, on weekends, take them to the park for a walk, ride a bike, play ball. Also, encourage other tasks at home, such as putting together puzzles, playing cards, reading comics and books, etc.
A nice tip is sometimes the family spends an entire day completely disconnected, including the parents. Remember that educating by example is always a good option.
Use specialized apps
Finally, today we have several apps available like Family Orbit, including many free ones as well, to control your children’s internet. It is possible to count the time of access to the internet and to the games, as well as to schedule a time to turn off or block the device.
These apps also serve to protect against excessive use and at bad times, such as class time, and prevent access to inappropriate content. Also, parents can track where their kids are in real-time. Finally, there is no lack of options according to the reality of each family.
Prohibiting the use or excluding technology from children’s lives does not seem feasible and not even a smart move. That would only drive them away from their reality. The secret is to allow access, but using means of controlling the children’s internet, such as those mentioned in this text.