Are parent apps bringing out more problems in your child? Here’s how you can use them to achieve a positive outcome.
Think you know all about using parent apps? Think again.
You’ve probably used a few different parent apps, and you’ve probably got a couple favourites you swear by. Parent apps abound in the 21st Century, and for good reason. But are you using them correctly and creating a healthy environment for your child? Or are these parent apps simply restrictions that are indirectly fueling more childhood rebellion?
Here are 3 tips on how you can use parent apps healthily:
1. Remember to explain
“Why, mummy?”Every child when they first learnt how to speak
Just like how you once explained every little detail to your little one – from learning how to use a spoon to why the colour of the sky is blue – explain in detail why you’re installing a parent app on your child’s phone. The (cop-out) answer many of us parents like to respond with simply goes, “it’s for your own good.” Offering no further explanation leaves our child wondering what the purpose of this app is, and could lead to protestations and tantrums.
So before that happens, try explaining: why is it for your child’s own good? How will it help them? What does it do, exactly?
Let your child know that these parent apps are important to keep his screen time in check. Staying glued to the screen robs your little one of enjoying many other things – like playing outdoors, spending time with his/her siblings, learning a new skill, etc. Moreover, minimising their screen time is important to keep their eyes healthy, and prevent visual conditions like myopia from developing.
The moment we begin to answer these simple questions, we build a bridge of mutual understanding for both your child’s, and your needs and wants.
2. Establish healthy boundaries
As parents, it’s normal for us to be concerned for our child’s safety online. Online dangers permeate cyberspace in the 21st Century – from phishing to cyberbullying to cyber scams. Our inner mama and papa bears emerge when we believe or feel that our child may be in danger.
So, we install all sorts of parent apps and place multiple locks and restrictions on their phone. We keep tabs on their actions and we constantly need to know what websites they’ve visited and who they’re talking to. That’s when the lying and the hiding begins.
Lurking behind your child’s shoulder all the time can cause distress and anxiety in your child. Just imagine having someone watch your every move even when you’re at home. It’s unnerving, isn’t it? That’s how some of our children may feel.
Children living and growing up in the digital age are much smarter and more knowledgeable about technology than we give them credit for. Instead of simply slapping on another block on their phone because they might not know better, talk to them about it first. Set up healthy boundaries about what you will be able to access on their phone and ask them if they’re open to it.
It’s important to find that balance and establish healthy boundaries with your child instead of infringing on their privacy.
3. Choose an app that educates them
There are a variety of parent apps that exist and all of them help protect our children from harm on the internet, and limit their screen time. But what about choosing parent apps that does more than that? What about parent apps that help instill good habits in your little ones? There’s a saying that goes, “a little goes a long way”, and it sure does when you start building the right habits in your little ones.
The plano app is one such app that reminds your child to take eye breaks every 30 minutes, and helps you limit your child’s screen time too. The app not only helps to prevent your child from spending prolonged periods of time on the screen, it also protects your child’s eyes from myopia progression. Research has shown that spending too much time on near work activity like using your phone can contribute to the development of myopia.
If your child consistently follows the prompts from the plano app to take an eye break every 30 minutes, it becomes a habit. And he/she will be taking breaks from their screens on their own in no time!
So instead of simply installing another parent app on your child’s phone that limits screen time, choose an app that helps to teach them the right habits to use their phones responsibly.
All of us parents want the best for our children, so it’s up to us to guide them along the way. When we use parent apps, we should use them to uplift our children and help them, not restrict and control them. The power is in our hands to make the choice, make the changes we need to, and to make it right.