With 2017 fast approaching, you probably have plenty of items on your resolution list. Like many families, you may be discussing ways to get more active, planning to spend more together, or looking to lead a healthier lifestyle in the new year. As you enter 2017, however, there’s one more thing that you should keep at the top of your resolution list: your technology and device goals for 2017. In many cases, your technology and devices may be having a negative impact on your family, especially on your teens and tweens. By controlling device use, on the other hand, you can create a healthier, happier new year with a family that is more connected than ever.
Resolution #1: Charge your devices at a certain time every night.
There’s nothing worse than that blinking red battery light that lets you know that you’re almost out of power, right? Plus most children need those devices fully charged up for school the next day! By plugging your devices in at a specific time, you help eliminate that low battery warning. Setting a specific cutoff time, however, accomplishes more than that. It also:
- Eliminates late-night phone or tablet use after everyone’s in bed.
- Helps the family wind down for a better night’s sleep.
- Increases human interaction time and facilitates better conversations.
Resolution #2: Set device-free times.
Dinner time should never be device time. It doesn’t matter if there’s a Pokemon sitting in the middle of the dining room table or your child has been following the latest updates on a Facebook thread for the last hour. When dinner time rolls around, it’s time to sit down together as a family. Other times when you might need to turn off your devices include:
- Family trips, especially to remote areas where WiFi doesn’t exist (exceptions can be made for taking pictures)
- During conversations
- During school hours
- In the middle of another activity or practice
Resolution #3: Monitor your child’s mobile device use.
From texting and apps to social media, your child is exposed to an incredible amount of social input–and that input isn’t always positive. Cyberbullying is rampant in many schools, while inappropriate text messages become increasingly common as your teen enters high school. Nip it in the bud this year by making a new resolution to monitor your teen’s mobile device use more effectively. This might include:
- Keeping the passwords to their social media accounts.
- Checking past text messages.
- Knowing what apps your child has downloaded and understanding how they work.
- Watching your child’s behavior, including monitoring for warning signs of potential bullying.
Resolution #4: Discuss appropriate technology use with your child.
Your best monitoring efforts won’t always make it possible for you to know exactly how your child is using their technology time. By discussing the rules of appropriate online conduct and texting etiquette, however, you can help create a safer online environment for your child–and for other people’s children. This year, resolve to have several key discussions with your child about appropriate behavior online. Make sure to repeat those conversations as necessary.
- How should your child respond if someone sends them an inappropriate picture through text? What if they’re asked for a picture of themselves?
- What’s considered acceptable behavior online? What behaviors are unacceptable?
- How should your child respond if they are a victim of bullying?
- What is appropriate technology use in your household? When does the technology use cease?
- How should your child respond if they see that someone else is a victim of cyberbullying?
- What are the potential consequences of irresponsible online behaviors?
Teens and tweens don’t necessarily have the ability to reason through these things for themselves. When you give them the pieces of the puzzle, however, you create healthier online behaviors and teens and tweens who know how to respond if someone else crosses the line.
Setting boundaries with the amount of time your children and teens spend on their devices at anytime of year is always always easier when you use a trustworthy parental control software. Netsanity offers a suite of parental control services like our Timeblocker for both Apple iOS and Android Samsung devices makes it easy to help your children find balance with the amount time they spend on their devices. Additionally, parents love our Appblocker feature! With one-click, you can block more than 50 previously profiled, internet-based apps if you find them inappropriate or you just want your child to take a break from them.
2017 is coming fast. Whether your children will receive new devices for holiday gifts or are simply using their old, familiar devices, make sure that they’re prepared for appropriate and healthy technology use all year long.
Featuring a full featured parental control suite, Netsanity allows parents to take back control over the mobile devices in their home. Block apps, manage texting, manage Internet access, filter out porn and nudity and 20 other premium features are included with a monthly or annual subscription. Try every feature on up to two devices, Apple iOS or Samsung Android, for two weeks completely free and now, with no credit card required! If our parental controls sound like they could help you get control of your family’s mobile devices, then click here to start your free trial – and get some sanity back today!