Digital technology plays a major role in many of our lives – from educational to interactive apps on our phones to creative outlets or streaming services on computers and tablets. But with so much always at our fingertips, it’s easy to fall into an unhealthy relationship with how much time we spend on our devices, particularly for children and youth. Recent studies from Western University Faculty of Education, linked too much screen time to anxiety and depression in children.
For parents and caregivers, it's important to be mindful of how technology can impact children’s mental health. So, as we start a new year, explore how you can unplug and recharge the relationship with technology for you and your family.
Unplugging From Devices:
Kids Help Phone Digital Detox Guide outlines that taking a break from your phone, computers, TV, gaming consoles or other devices is good for your physical and mental health. It can help improve relationships, sleep habits and reduce stress and anxiety. With more free time, you and your family can enjoy other activities like picking up a new hobby, trying something new, or simply spending quality downtime together.
Setting Boundaries on Devices:
When you want to come back to technology after a break, try to set some healthy boundaries for how long you use them. Simple things like setting a time limit on your phone use or removing digital devices from your night or morning routine can go a long way. You can also silence certain notifications on your phone or tablet. These practices can help relieve the overuse of our devices, just by setting up some simple boundaries.
Creating a Healthy Relationship with Devices:
Developing a healthy relationship with devices starts with mindful and intentional use of technology. Make the screen activities, such as educational pursuits, creative endeavors, or fun games intentional. Replacing routine with intention can contribute to a healthier relationship with technology. For parents, remember that you are a role model to your kids. If you can start to be more intentional about when and how you use your devices, then your behaviour will be an example to your children.
As you begin 2024, remember that taking time away from technology is doable with a realistic goal in mind. Try no screen time for a few hours each day. If you can’t completely unplug, be mindful of how you spend time with technology. Modeling a positive relationship with technology will help create an environment in your home that will benefit how your kids use it too!
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