As parents, we know that it’s the same routine every school holiday. Your child comes home and falls victim, surrendering their consciousness like a digital zombie. In fact, they can be so wrapped up in playing video games, streaming content, and texting their friends, that they forget about the most important part of the holidays: spending quality time together.
While the holidays may seem hectic enough without adding in new rules and expectations, it’s actually the perfect opportunity to do so. With all of the excitement of the holiday season, the chaos can be a great distraction– especially when slowly restricting family tech usage. During your child’s upcoming holiday break, find creative ways to encourage them to step away from their digital devices.
In today’s digital world, parents are forced to worry about more threats to their child’s safety than ever before. The truth is, using the Internet can be risky and there are a number of things you should be aware of, including but not limited to:
- Inappropriate Content
- Cybercrime- Identity Theft, Cyberbullying, Data Breaches & Hacking
- Potentially Hazardous Sites, Emails, and Downloads that spread Malware & Viruses
It’s important to not only educate our children on these potential dangers, but to also become a media mentor for them. The holidays can be a great time to have a cyber safety discussion with your children/teens covering online safety tips.
Remember, if you are concerned about their online behavior, there are many options when it comes to applications and software that allow you to control, monitor, and disable their Internet-connected devices. However, when it comes to safe communication, programs such as Kids Email allow users to safely send messages, connect with loved ones, and browse the web safer– you can try it now for free!
Take a Break
The best way to help children avoid these dangers is by setting and enforcing screen-free rules. When children and teens use their devices frequently, it’s easy for them to become addicted. The holidays are the perfect time to detox their developing brains, allowing you and your family to breathe easier. This reset presents a great opportunity to replace technology with quality family-time.
The holidays are for celebrating with your loved ones and creating traditions that last for generations to come. Therefore, helping your child to understand this can create a stronger relationship between the two of you. The difficult part, however, is getting your child to put the device down.
If you find that a major argument ensues everytime that you take the device away in a punishment of a certain action, there is a bigger issue at hand. Setting limitations and approved usage schedules makes these rules easier to enforce, ultimately avoiding the argument from the start. Regular activities such as daily conversation, family dinners, or having guests at the house should be screen-free, in order to create a relationship of trust and mutual respect. Have them assist you in setting these rules by taking the time to sit down and create a contract that is fair for both of you.
Remember that oftentimes, your child is using their device to fulfill boredom or avoid awkward silence. Therefore, finding ways to combat this should involve more than just taking your child’s devices away. It’s important that you show them that their presence is mandatory yet, desired. Try suggesting alternative activities you can all participate in together. You’ll enjoy the time you get to spend with your family, and they’ll be distracted from their digital distractions. Here are a few ideas that can be fun for the whole family during the holiday season:
- Make crafts or bake together
- Write a letter to Santa
- Go sledding
- Decorate a gingerbread house
- Have a family board game night
- Go on a tour of the lights and decorations in your neighborhood
- Find a local holiday festival
- Volunteer at a charity