Safe Technology Use in Children
The rapid development of technology causes an increase in the time spent with technological devices. Thanks to technology, children can do the research necessary for their homework, access various resources, and do research on places and subjects they are curious about. In addition to the many benefits provided by the use of technology, there are also some risk factors.
With the prolongation of the time spent by children in front of the screen, they are faced with situations such as spending time on websites that are not suitable for their age, weakening of their social relations, decreased physical activities, and skipping meals. It will be useful to observe the time your child spends in the digital environment to avoid possible harm while enjoying the benefits of technology.
“By tracking how much time your child spends in front of the screen and the physical, psychological and social reflections of this time, you can reach a conclusion about how safely he or she uses technology.”
It is a kind of addiction that people have various problems and deficiencies in physical, social, psychological and emotional areas due to spending a lot of time in front of the screen. These people with internet addiction cannot control the time they will spend in digital environments, their social relations are getting weaker, they do not enjoy the activities they do outside of the digital environment and they start to feel negative emotions.
In children, this dependence causes a decrease in academic achievement, weakening in interpersonal relationships including friendship and family relationships, changes in weight and body form, vision loss, headache, constant fatigue, decreased expression of emotions, tendency to violence, difficulty in controlling impulses, depressive symptoms, decreased attention. It can cause many negative situations such as
In what situations should you consider that your child is not using technology safely?
-If he cannot control the time he spends in front of the screen,
-If, for any reason, he shows negative reactions when his time spent in front of the screen is interrupted,
-Expresses that he feels bad when he does not spend time in front of the screen,
-If he cannot reduce the time spent in front of the screen despite trying to reduce it,
-If he prefers to conduct his social relations only in the digital environment,
-Has decreased interest in, or is completely uninterested in, activities that they previously enjoyed very much.
-The time spent in the digital environment is not enough, no matter how much time he spends, this time does not satisfy him and he wants to spend more time,
-If there is a decrease in academic success and academic interest,
-The main activity that will be good for him in the face of any negativity he experiences is playing games etc. If he/she expresses that there is an activity that he/she can do in the digital environment, such as
-If your child’s communication with you has decreased and he prefers to spend time in the digital environment instead of communicating, it may be beneficial to get support for your child’s use of technology.
What can you do to make your child’s technology use safe?
-You can set limits on the time children spend in front of the screen. The absence of limitations causes the child to spend more and more time in front of the screen. Thus, your child may show features of digital addiction.
-Knowing that there are other activities that they can do instead of spending time in front of the screen allows the child to shorten the screen time. For this reason, it is important to have activities that he likes and enjoys from a young age. Having a hobby that children can do at home independently of the digital environment and having at least one hobby that they can do outside of the home in the same way independently from the digital environment allows them to develop various skills and interests. Thus, children know that not all time outside of class is screen time and that there are other alternatives they can do.
-It is very important to be a role model for children in this regard, as it is in every subject. A parent who spends almost all of his time at home in front of the television, warning the child about the smart device may not leave an effective mark on the child. For this reason, as a parent at home, you can plan various activities that you can do away from the digital environment in the same way.
-It will be useful to draw a framework from an early age so that your child will make a habit of activities outside of the digital environment. You can prepare frame plans such as a list of things to do in your spare time, technology user guide of our house, reading time, board game time.
-It is very important for parents to act jointly and be consistent in any digital use limitation. Otherwise, it becomes difficult to observe consistency and continuity in the child’s behavior.
-It is very important to be aware of the sites your child spends time on, which platforms they use, and whether these platforms are age-appropriate to keep them under control.
-Identifying a common activity where no one is interested in technology every evening or when all family members are together both strengthens family relationships and prevents the child from thinking that all free time means screen time.
-If your child is used to spending a lot of time in front of a screen, it won’t be abrupt and quick to change this. It is quite possible that your child will react when you set various limitations. In these cases, it will be useful to know that this change will not happen quickly and to get support from an expert at the point where you think that the change has not been achieved.