While most parents are understandably concerned about the content that their children are viewing online, examining the time of day spent online may further help families with internet safety. Setting clear and consistent guidelines that limit internet and screen use to specific times during the day is a great way to help our children navigate the world of the internet with responsibility and accountability. Here are four great reasons parents should consider blocking the internet at certain times during the day.
The amount of time families are spending face-to-face in internet connected families is on the decline. Teens and children who spend more time focused on a screen are prone to subconscious feelings of isolation and loneliness. Interactions online just do not an adequate job of replacing the human need for family relationships.
By setting aside time during each day, and each week to put the devices down and connect with family, you are giving them the tools they need to have stronger relationships in the future, as well as more confidence in social interactions outside the home.
Try having a weekly tabletop game night or an evening walk around the neighborhood to encourage conversation and healthy family relationships
Getting kids to finish their homework can often be a struggle, but when you put the endless distractions of social media in the mix, it feels almost impossible.
By blocking the internet during time set aside for school work or other lessons, such as practicing a musical instrument, working on an art project, or playing sports, the temptation to check and see how many likes they have on their latest post is eliminated. Free from these distractions, children and teens are better able to focus and the task at hand and improve their intelligence and talents.
When time on the Internet is limited, children and teens learn to use their time more wisely. Even as adults, it’s easy to lose track of time while browsing memes or getting caught up in an interesting Twitter thread. Before you know it, the day is half gone.
Setting a limit on internet time encourages families to decide how best to spend those precious minutes. Let’s say there is a YouTube show they are really excited about. When a time limit is enforced, they are more likely to watch the video they are looking for, then turn it off when it’s done instead of mindlessly scrolling through comment sections and related videos. They become responsible and accountable for how they manage their time.
The internet often becomes a place where people say or do things they likely wouldn’t in the “real world.” Because we feel protected by the imaginary barrier of anonymity, we think that our words and actions don’t have consequences. This simply isn’t true.
Online temptations may take various forms, but may include: viewing harmful or inappropriate images, reading websites with harmful or inappropriate information, viewing sites with crude or profane humor, engaging in conversation that hurts others (cyberbullying), chatting with strangers, or sending inappropriate messages or pictures.
These online temptations are especially appealing at times when supervision is at a minimum. It would be wise for parents to restrict internet usage at bedtimes or when parents are out of the house.
As with most things, enforcing these rules over an extended period of time isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Kids will invariably find ways to push back, and you may be tempted to give in. But remember that the goal in the end is to make your family stronger and safer from online dangers.
For additional tools to help you protect your family, sign up for Ever Accountable today.