On Wednesday, January 16th, about two dozen family members came to take part in BSCO’s free Parent Education series. Shawn Marshall of the Children’s Program provided insight into what technology can bring and do for our children. Obviously technology is all around us and our kids, so it was great to hear a professional's insight on how to best utilize, incorporate, and understand technology.
Mr. Marshall provided some statistics from various sources, one including the American Academy of Pediatrics, about how much time children use technology; and what that amount really should be. (Here is a link to more details from the AAP - https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Children-and-Media-Tips.aspx ) He also spoke at great length about how technology, social media usages, and video games are having a direct impact of our teenagers and their level of happiness.
Mr. Marshall closed the evening with providing everyone a hand out about his recommendations for screen usage at home. For those of you unable to attend, here are some of the highlights:
Have clearly definite WRITTEN rules for your children's electronic usage. He points out that it is essential to have it written out so that way it is clear for everyone to remember
Have set limits of the amount of screen time
Allow for set chunks of time each day without electronics ( he mentioned that waking up and at least an hour before bed are good ways to start). And to also have 1-2 days a week with no devices at all
Keep electronics out of the children's rooms at night
Role model appropriate screen usage and aim for a balance. Technology isn't necessarily a bad thing
DO NOT treat electrics as a reward and be careful with removing it as a punishment. The less you make it look like a prize to be had, the better
Try doing the apps/games with your child, so you can better understand what it is that they are doing. It also is a way to be involved and share in an activity
iPhones are such a new commodity that there isn't a lot of solid research yet on the pros and cons of long-term daily usage of technology on our children's brains. Mr. Marshall also suggested utilizing Common Sense Media as a resource for parents and families; to better know the specific structure needed for each individual family.