Technology has been vital to our everyday life that we always reach for it automatically (who doesn't reach for their smartphone as soon as they wake up). It's why it gets harder to control how long and how often our kids should use their Android phone or iPad. They see us spending a chunk of time on the same gadgets, so logic will kick ine: they will ask why should it be bad for them.
If you feel that gadget use is getting out of hand in your home, it's time to set stricter and consistent rules that apply to everyone in the house. You can start with advice from Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization that provides unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. They've identified these three areas in the home where gadgets should be banned.
1 The dining room There have been several studies that support the no-gadget rule during dinnertime not just for kids but the whole family. Pope Francis himself advised familes to refrain from using phones during dinner because it gets in the way of having meaningful family conversations. “Once the food is ready, ask everyone to turn off their phones, silence them, or set them to ‘do not disturb.’ And if you're tired of getting no response when you ask how your kids' day was, start talking about something funny you saw on your phone, and they'll soon chime in with their own stories,” writes Caroline Knorr in the Common Sense Media blog.
2. In the bedroom Research has proven that the light emitted by screens makes one less likely to fall asleep faster. A good night’s sleep is key to kids’ good health, school performance, and general well-being. “Set a specific time before bed for kids to hand over their phones, and charge them in your room overnight,” Knorr advises. Technology columnist Nick Bilton cited studies that show how tech-time in the bedroom can affect relationships negatively. Couples can also benefit greatly from unplugging before bedtime, such as improved communication and security, and maybe even lead to better sex.
3. The car Knorr suggests to store phones in the glove compartment until you arrive at your destination. More than texting or talking on the phone while driving—because even with hands-free options, being on the phone can be distracting and is not at all safe—using electronic devices in the car also hinder what could be meaningful conversations. “If kids are allowed to play ‘Candy Crush’ on the way to school, the car ride will be quiet, but that’s not what kids need,” clinical psychologist Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair told The New York Times. “They need time to daydream, deal with anxieties, process their thoughts, and share them with parents, who can provide reassurance,” she says.
It's impossible now to totally stop using devices. Setting rules, however, gives children and the family a chance to balance the actual and digital worlds. It will allow us to nuture the best relationships we have with our loved ones.