We are a pretty high tech family, my husband's background is in I.T and tech and I work full time in social media and online, so to say that we are tapped into some sort of device at any given time would be an understatement.
Our kids 5 and 7 also love technology, I love that my 5 year old can pretty much work most devices easily.
It's no secret that technology is addictive, I mean you only have to look around you at any given time and you are sure to see someone looking at their phone. I use to feel super guilty that our kids were being raised in a world where it seems everyone is locked into some sort of device over engaging, interacting with other people and outside activities, but the truth is, it's the way the world is going.
Teenagers now can spend 20 minutes taking the perfect selfie to upload to social media and I am sure in 20 years time when we don't even have to leave our homes for anything we will be longing for the days when our kids chased Pokémon's and took selfies. My era was lucky in the fact that we had a childhood pre internet, where our kids now have been raised with the internet and have never known any different.
My kids also go to a school that promotes technology, at any given time they can send me a video recording or take a photo of their work that I can log into see it. In addition to traditional schooling they also do a lot of work on ipads and know how to navigate google and the internet, probably better than most adults do.
I never really had an issue with my kids being on technology but I definitely had an issue with them not wanting to do anything else but be on technology, I felt like I was going a bit bonkers when I would ask my children to hop off a device as it was always followed by a tantrum, it was also a real struggle to get them to play outside, do homework, chores or anything else for that matter.
I knew something had to change, It wasn't until my husband said jokingly one morning, oh let them have as much tec time as they want, that's when a penny dropped.
I thought yep that's what I am going to do, I am going to let them have as much tech time as they want provided that they did the following.
I put together a chart that had everything on it that they needed to do before they could touch any device, this included, Ipad, computer, my phone, and TV. I spoke to them and told them that they could have as much technology as they wanted and it was actually up to them how much time they got to spend on their favourite devices, but they had to make sure that everything on the following list was ticked off first.
In mornings they had to:
Make bed and make sure room is neat < this doesn't have to be perfect just done.
Lunch and bag packed
As soon as this is done my kids are free to go on ipad, computer, tv phone etc.
In the afternoons they have to:
Read / homework
Uniform in wash or hung up if not dirty.
In summer 30 - 45 mins play outside
Bath/shower in winter they have bath soon as they get home.
This is normally all done before 4.30
After that they are allowed as much tech until 6pm dinner, at this time we all put tech away, my husband and I put our phones up until kids are in bed.
We have never done tech at night so they don't know any different as far as going on it after dinner, I like this to be a wind down time for them and we normally read, talk or sometimes play a game.
I swear this has been the best thing I have done in a long time ha! My kids get up at 7am every morning and we leave the house at 8.20am and they at least have 30 mins screen time in the mornings, this is because they know if they don't move they don't get screen time. Even when I have trouble getting them out of bed, all I have to say is you won't have much screen time and they normally jump up < and to be honest most times they are already up and dressed before my alarm goes off.
I have found by giving my kids the feeling that the are allowed as much time as they want provided they have done everything really makes them more responsible, again my issue was never the time they spent on the devices but the fact that it would take them forever to get anything else done. I don't ask for perfection with their jobs etc but they have to have a good go at it.
The key is to follow through, if my 2 don't do what's on the list they don't have any tec that day, and yes they cry and carry on but normally the following day they are back ticking off that list ha!
On the weekends we are pretty cruisey with tec time in saying that we do get out and do a lot of family stuff. We do plenty of outdoor activities, both my kids do karate, swimming and gymnastics and we regularly cook and play sport together, so it's not all technology, but in the era we now live in, tec is not going anywhere so for us it was good to find a balance sooner rather than later.
This is what I have found works for us, do you have any tips for tech time in your house?
Oh I should also add that although we let our kids use technology we are well aware of what they are watching or playing :)