Are you worried about the time that your child/teen/emerging adult spends using devices, the internet, or plays online games? Do you notice warning signs such as irritability or absentmindedness in your loved one? Create an Online Usage Plan for the family to help your child/teen/emerging adult (and yourself) to avoid negative health outcomes due to an overuse of technology.
What Our Experts Are Saying
Insights, recommendations, and advice for parents balancing kids and technology from the doctors, subject matter experts and thought leaders in the Modern Parent Project community.
What to Do?
Direct, straightforward and summarized advice and recommendations. Parents, please consider the following insights when navigating the challenging topic of kids and technology.
What NOT to Do?
The wrong words or actions can sometimes make things worse with kids. Parents, please consider avoiding the following potential traps.
Create An Acceptable Usage Plan Even If It's Uncomfortable
Even if we don’t want to cut down on watching our favorite shows, checking social, or deprive our kids of their online game evenings, the nature of problem behaviors with regards to technology use is rooted in brain chemistry that needs to be attended to: The brain’s reward center gives the message “I want what I want [the internet, the phone, … and I want this right now”.
Setting Boundaries Around Technology Use Promote Health In Relationships
Let’s face it, we all can all have a strong urge to resist or challenge limits. And yes, we all want to sometimes succumb to our desires without setting limits. At the same time, if we need to set limitations so that our brain’s reward center does not high-jack itself with a “I want it all” attitude.
Don't Minimize Anxiety Or Depressive Feelings
If you notice irritability or anxiety in your teen or emerging adult child that seem to go away when they enjoy themselves online, do not be tricked: an overuse of technology in South Korean children prompted the South Korean teens to report high levels of anxiety and depression with subsequent difficulties in school an personal relationships.
Don't Dismay- We Are With You On The Way
This may feel overwhelming as you are reading this, but rest assured that there are professionals who are trained in providing specialized support and who can help you with developing your family’s Online Usage Plan.
What’s An Online Usage Plan?
By Dr. Sibylle Georgianna, Ph.D.
Suggestions to Develop an “Acceptable Use Plan” (AUP) For All Family Members To Counteract Negative Health Outcomes From Overusing Technology Suggestions to Develop an “Acceptable Use Plan” (AUP) For All Family Members To Counteract Negative Health Outcomes From Overusing Technology
• Plan includes all electronic devices (computers, phones) in family
• Specify times of use and non-use of internet/technology (e.g., no internet from 7-9 p.m. during homework time)
• Set number of minutes/hours per day/week of online time (including adults);
• Specify what to do if inappropriate/objectionable materials are being displayed accidentally (e.g., tell adult and adult to set up blocker)
• Define and specify who can be an online buddy (e.g., only face-to-face friends whom you see every week)- allow exceptions from this general rule;
• Do not share passwords (not even with boy-/girlfriend);
• Do not post personal information;
• Define blocking/monitoring software (no working around/exceptions);
• No new accounts for online services without permission of adult;
• Define consequences of AUP violation (e.g., more limited computer time, loss of computer privilege, increased monitoring/blocking).
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