If you think back to your childhood, it looked a lot different back then than it does today, right? Absolutely! The days of playing outside and having to be back home before the street lights came on aren’t necessarily over, it’s just that the idea of fun has a slightly different look to it. With the continuous advancements in technology, it has become too easy for kids to spend most of their time in front of computer screens and the television.
Parents fear that too much screen time, whether it be from computers or TV, will decrease their social skills and have the potential to lead to anxiety and depression according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Despite that, there are still ways that you can have quality family time together without losing the sense of family in your home… you just have to find a balance between the two.
Finding the Proper Balance: Online Versus Offline Interactions
As parents, it’s important to find a balance between online interactions and offline interactions in order for your kids to properly develop socially. Technology can actually be quite beneficial to children and their parents. It can be used to help your children form meaningful connections and let’s not forget that it can also be used as a form of entertainment as a family.
Online interactions: Bonding With Family at Home
Sitting with your child to watch an infinite amount of YouTube videos isn’t what you would necessarily call quality bonding time together but it does help in knowing and seeing the types of things they’re interested in when they hop online. An ideal way to spend quality time online with your kids is to stream your entertainment on television.
A lot of families own Firesticks. This allows your family to come together and watch free movies and TV shows. In doing that, you can let your kids pick the movies and shows just to see where their mind is, plus, it will also allow you to see how advanced their minds are in working with technology and electronics and navigating through the different applications. This is also a conversation starter to discuss their interests and ambitions.
Online Interactions: Connecting With Friends and Family Outside of Home
Things like video games have been frowned upon by many parents but honestly, these games, especially the live ones with live chat, can actually be the stepping stones to kids learning team-building skills as well as problem-solving skills. Kids might not be able to see their friends and different family members on a daily basis so, video games are a good way for them to keep in touch with them.
Another platform would be things like social media. Now, you will definitely need to make sure your child is of the proper age to have a social media account and monitor their activity but having a social media account is another great way for your kids to communicate with friends and family. It might not seem like it is but it really is. It’s when their online interactions become excessive to a point that it affects their personality and social skills. As a parent, you just have to monitor their time online.
As a parent, you’re always going to be worried about potential threats to your children whether it’s online or offline but also, as a parent, you can’t protect them from everything because you’re not going to always be there for them. In knowing that you won’t always be there, the best thing you can do is expose them to what they could possibly experience and teach them the right way to handle things.
Offline Interactions: Making In-Person Connections
There isn’t a lot of research or information on how online interactions are more helpful or harmful than offline interactions so the decision to allow online interactions is completely up to the parents but to be fair, there’s nothing better than physically seeing your friend or family member and being able to give them a hug or high-five!
It’s very obvious that there isn’t real, genuine authenticity with online interactions versus interacting with someone face-to-face. It’s similar to texting. You can text someone something that you intended to be nice but the person n the receiving end might not have taken your text that way and that’s why it’s so important to have meaningful in-person communication, whether it be over the phone or in person.
With that same token, it’s also obvious that kids using technology isn’t as bad as lots of parents try to make it seem. You really just have to find that right balance between the two that works best for your family.