Managing our children's mobile media use

November 14th, 2012 by Managing mobile media in

Dr. Krayons guide: To managing your child's mobile media use

“I found the enemy and it is us”. Look at your own technology habits first. What you do and how you act as a parent speaks much louder than what you say. You are the major influence on your child.  Using media and electronic devices is no different. It is not an accident that every child in today’s world is extremely inquisitive with all the devices they see us using all day long. They are very much aware of everything we do. From the earliest age children are observing and registering all our facial expressions and what engages us. Start here, even before it is time for them to play with media devices. When you are around your children, give them undivided attention. We are the ones training them in the art of distraction. Get back to real social interaction ourselves, so our children will have a reference point. So start with yourself, see what you look like to them in the mirror. They are watching you 24-7. Are you smiling, engaged and aware or taking every opportunity to interact with your child.
 Do not use the device just to keep you child from acting out. Although you may use the device for situations which may require your child to behave and sit still for prolonged periods of time you do not want to use any mobile media as a behavior device . Explain in clear terms before you give them the device what the limits will be then warn them a few minutes before the time is running out; do not take it away abruptly. If they act out and throw a fit or fight when it is time to stop, follow through and do not extend the time. Make it very clear that if they want to continue having the privilege of using this device next time they need to cooperate.
The first time your child grabs your phone, as with every behavior use it as an opportunity to teach .You will have countless opportunities to reinforce the guidelines  until good behavior becomes a habit.
Limitations: It is your choice when and where, and for how long your child can play with their device. Develop specific rules and time frames for controlling the use. For instance “you can use the game only in the car, when we get to grandparent’s house you need to turn off”. “While we are waiting for the food at a restaurant you can use it, when the food comes we turn it off”.

Do not allow double tasking. One activity at a time. Only allowed to use when waiting or seated. Never while walking, talking, family time, or other activities.
Appropriate public behavior: Discuss what is acceptable behavior with any device- it is worth being proactive and reviewing details before you arrive at a destination. Game plan for any trip or outing and discuss your expectations for your child’s cooperation . Outline the places that are acceptable for use.
“Do as I say not as I do”. Ever notice that as soon as you look at your phone or text everyone has tacit approval to look at theirs. Discuss the differences between what is essential use of a phone in public and inappropriate times for non-essential calls, texts, email etc. Discuss openly what “need to” means when it comes to phone and game use.
Curtailing  distractibility: Only allow one (limited at that) sedentary activity at a time. Adding them together does not encourage creativity or social interaction it develops distractibility. Whatever value may be gained from Television viewing, is lost if you add texting, game playing, or talking on the phone. Is all this contributing to the A.D.D generation?