Do you know how to set up parental controls on a tablet or phone? How important are time limits for screens when used by children?
Technology and security are the topics of a new information campaign leading up to Christmas this week, led by a local non-profit organization.
“Parents generally underestimate the actual time their children spend in front of screens,” said Kimberly Vance-Lundsbye, coordinator of Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy. “Since March 2020, screen time has exploded exponentially for everyone, including children and their parents. It is quite logical. The question I ask myself now for myself and my children is, “Is this how we are going to live now or should we go back to the way we used to live when it comes to screens?” Or something completely different? ”
Suspecting that some Cariboo children might receive tech gifts such as phones, tablets or video game consoles under the Christmas tree this year, Vance-Lunsdbye said it was a good time to start a community dialogue on what should be taken into account when offering such a gift.
Planning ahead for time limits is an important part of technology, and much easier to enforce early on, before the device becomes a problem.
“Get a feel for what limits you plan to put in place for this device before your child gets it in their hands,” she said. “We all know how hard it is to back down with our children. Give with intention! ”
Being aware of how easily children and teens can access inappropriate content online – and knowing how to block it – is also an integral part of technological security.
“Kids can’t ignore what they’ve seen,” Vance-Lundsbye explained, noting that there are a variety of apps and programs available that can block inappropriate content.
“Is it really worth the risk?”
The concept of ‘opportunity cost’, which she describes as a fancy term for ‘what children don’t do or learn when they’re on screens’ should also be considered.
“Research tells us time and time again that unstructured play, mostly outdoors, with no time limit and with as little interference as possible from adults is most valuable for a child’s development,” he said. she declared.
To help parents and caregivers think about tech safety, Vance-Lundsbye has created a series of informative, yet fun, Tik Tok videos that will be shared on CCPL’s Facebook and Instagram pages during the holidays. In the New Year, she plans to work on building a community network of educators and other professionals who can help caregivers safely navigate technology with their toddlers.
“Technology is moving faster than us and it’s hard to manage, even for adults,” she said. “Our children need us to brake a bit.”
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