Parenting, Tech

Setting Tech Limits for Kids in a Digital World

I have three kids. A ten year old daughter, a nine year old son, and a six year old daughter. They all have access to tech in varying degrees. Our oldest has her own smartphone and the younger two have access to their own kindle tablets and my devices whenever they ask to use them. We also have one video game system in our house.

We try to follow a 30 minute guideline in our house. So, that means that while my 10 year old is searching up DIY Holiday Crafts on Youtube, my son is playing on the Xbox, and our youngest might be playing an app on my phone. For the most part, we stick to that time limit...but there are times when I need to s...t...r...e...t...c...h that out a bit in order to get something done. Then, when I am done with what I need to do...BOOM, they got an extra 30 minutes or more!

This is clearly a first world problem and not one that causes major problems in the world, however in my house it is a problem. My kids go nuts after they've been on a device for too long. They start acting irritable, lazy, hungry, and then they get mean. My son instigates his sisters. My oldest gets loud and defensive while my youngest whines and complains that she's not done yet. They get so crabby that I want to remove all tech for a few days-which of course would lead to more whines and cries from all three of them.

As a parent, I am reminded of an old commercial from my know the one with eggs and a frying pan, This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Well, I could change that to, This is your brain. This is your brain on tech! It sounds silly, but it's true in my house. As their mom, I want to teach them how to be safe online with various tech devices. I want them to understand their limits, yet explore their boundaries so that they can succeed and fail in a safe environment here, at home. I don't know if I am doing the right thing by setting limits, but I do know that they need to learn what is safe and appropriate before trying to independently navigate the ever-changing digital world.

What do you do for your children regarding tech? Do you set limits? If so, can you share them so we can start  a dialogue regarding this topic. I'd love to learn what you all think and do in your homes.

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Mom of 3 married to my high school sweetheart and living in suburban Chicagoland. I blog about how messy, but beautiful life can be.