Planning is an important part of family life. Families may plan how to spend their time, plan their finances, or plan for a family member’s education or training, Families may even plan to travel or add to their family with another child or a new pet. So with technology being ubiquitous in our world today, why not create a family media use plan?
The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to help children develop healthy media use habits early in life. In a 2016 article written by the AAP titled “Why to Limit Your Child’s Media Use,” overuse of and poor habits with digital media may place children or teens at risk regarding obesity, lack of sleep, problematic internet use, degraded school performance and increase in risky behaviors.
Overuse of and poor habits with digital media may place children or teens at risk
Following are some example considerations for a family media use plan. The AAP also provides a free, online tool to create a customized family media plan for your family.
- Screen free times - Should screens be put away during meals and what about device curfews before bedtime? Is background television appropriate?
- Screen free zones - Having rooms where screens are not allowed (e.g., bedrooms and dining rooms) helps maintain healthy boundaries and removes competition between screens and other activities.
- Choosing appropriate media - What is appropriate for your family based on your desired family values? Studies show government and industry movie ratings have become more lenient and allow more violence and sexually explicit content in films and games. And remember what may be appropriate for one child is not always appropriate for another.
- Digital citizenship and safety - Consider the same guidelines for both the virtual world and the real world. That means demonstrating manners, respecting others, keeping information secure and knowing friends, activities and locations visited.
- Be a good role model - Because children are great mimics, parents must follow the plan as well as children. Parents become more available for and connected with children if they are interacting, hugging and playing with them rather than simply staring at a screen.
Part of YouthCode’s mission is to help move youth from being passive technology consumers to active contributors. As producers and creators, we believe children gain healthier perspectives toward utilization of technology, they become inspired to solve problems and desire to make a difference in the world we live. Coding, specifically, strengthens problem solving and critical thinking skills, develops a deeper level of fluency with the digital world and builds confidence. Included in most YouthCode classes, camps and clubs are discussions with students regarding media choices and digital citizenship.