Many parents find it difficult to teach their children the proper use of digital media. The topics of respectful interaction with others and using media too frequently come up for discussion time and again.
The following tips provide parents with an overview of the main challenges in media education regarding mobile usage times and breaks.
Talk to your children about what messaging apps, social networks and game apps they would like to use on their mobile phones. Learn more about these services. Basic knowledge is often sufficient to get into a discussion with your children about these services.
Early on you should agree with your child to clear rules for mobile phone use. Cautious, early countermeasures are always more effective, especially when it’s about usage times, than drastic measures that do nothing to solve the problem at hand.
Any parent who follows a live ticker on the phone at the dinner table undermines their own argument that the child should put away his or her phone while eating. Parents are always role models who children orient themselves to, and this is true of phone use too.
Talk to your child about when it’s useful to take a break from their mobile phone. Especially with younger children, the phone needs to be put away at bedtime – it shouldn’t even go in the children’s room.
The multitude of incoming messages on the phone can put children under lots of pressure and cause distractions. Talk to your child about these challenges. Together, decide which situations call for putting the phone away or turning it off, for example, when doing homework.
Learn about technical possibilities such as content-based parental control features or time limit options. Many adults are unaware of these technical assistants, which can, however, be particularly well suited for protecting younger children.
Read more in our dossier “Are you a cell phone case?!”
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