Social | Help your kids overcome tech dependency

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Being addicted to screens and technology is no longer seen as a positive move for children, with dependency being linked to health risks. So, how can you help your child reduce their dependency on all things tech.

Like most parents, you may want your child to be the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. And if they don’t achieve that level of fortune and fame, at least you can take some comfort in knowing that you are providing your child with the tools and time to develop their IT skills with tablets, computers and phones.

Sounds good? No. Recent data from the British Heart Foundation found that just one in 10 toddlers in the ‘iPad generation’ is active enough to be healthy. And more children are spending longer online each day. 

So, how do you ensure that your child does not become dependent on all things tech? Banning technology is not a feasible option, but you can limit screen time by imposing daily breaks. Reach an agreement where, for one hour each day, no one in the family uses any tech. This includes everything from TV to phones and tablets. Mealtimes are often the best time to implement this rule.

Organise days out or family activities that gets everyone out of the house, and without technology. For this to work, all family members need to adhere to the rule.

Many children go online when they are bored. To counteract this, encourage your child to join a creative class or sports club outside of the home. The only way they will enjoy it is if it is something they are interested in so take the time together to select the best option. 

E-readers may be a must-have in your household and while it’s good for your child to read, it is more screen time. Join the local library and bring your child to explore the litany of books that they may enjoy. Picking titles that are based on their favourite movies may be one way to get them to read more. If they need more convincing, you may consider offering a small incentive such as extra pocket money.