John Cowan - Five tips for tech-savvy parents

Publish Date
Thursday, 1 December 2016, 1:53PM
By John Cowan
  1. “Do” works better than ‘Stop!” If you are worried a child is spending too much time on screens, one of the best ‘antidotes’ is to add to their activities, rather than saying ‘Stop!’ Dilute the amount of gadget time with extra sports, activities, games, chores, reading and fun time with you.


  1. Nearly every gadget – video games, tablets, phones and computers – comes with built-in parental controls that will limit the opportunities for your children to get into mischief or have mischief inflicted upon them. Admittedly they can be hard to find, but if you type “Parental controls [name of gadget]” into Youtube, you will get step-by-step instructions. 


  1. One of the best things you could do to boost your child’s school performance (and health and happiness) is to give them the gift of a bed time – for both them and their gadgets. Today’s crop of young people are chronically sleep deprived and gadgets are the major culprit. Establish a darker, quieter, screen-free wind-down time in your home.


  1. Many – maybe most – adolescents spend too much time locked up with shyness and insecurity. For them, social media is a huge boon and the majority of teenagers actually prefer their digital identity to their real-world one. Insights you get from the way they style and portray themselves online may help you coach and encourage their emerging personality.


  1. Even though most surveys still show teens use Facebook, it is very likely that your child uses other social media platforms as well – Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr  and probably several others that have come into vogue in the last 30 seconds! To stay current, consult an expert – your child. Respectfully ask them to teach you. In the process, you will bond and also probably get access to one more social media windows into their world.

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