Photo by Jennifer Murray from Pexels
Guest post by Michelle Laurey
Generation Z is the first generation to be considered digital natives. This means that they were born into a connected world, rather than having to learn to use technology.
On the one hand, there is growing concern about the number of time children and youth are spending with tech, but on the other hand, these concerns are nothing new. Older generations were concerned about the TV, radio, even comic books, and novels. This is certainly not to say that all of these concerns are in vain, but rather that every generation has concerns about how younger generations are spending their time.
Is Tech Really that Bad for Kids?
Having said that, there is also probably a very good reason that tech pioneers ranging from Bill Gates to Steve Jobs all limited their children’s access to the very products they created. This doesn’t mean they attempted to ban them from them entirely, but rather they tried to give them place and perspective.
This was also potentially much easier a decade ago when even the smallest of children were not constantly surrounded by tech. One thing concerned parents can do is to set up a fun digital detox for their kids.
Here are 4 great ideas to help your kids understand that fun doesn’t always have to involved tech.
1. Go Where There Is No Cell Service
One of the best ways to detox your kids from tech is to go where they can’t even use most of it. While of course tech can still be used offline, they are generally far more interested in connected tech.
If you take them out of range of cell towers, however, you take away a great deal of the allure of digital devices. If you add in fun things to do that aren’t digitally based, you stand a great chance of getting them to forget all about their tech entirely.
How to do it: Camping is a great way to get kids disengaged from their tech and involved in family time. Fishing, boating, rafting or other active water activities can all provide opportunities to build great tech-free memories.
2. Connect with Them by Disconnecting from Tech
You may be surprised to find out how much your kids actually want to connect with you. In many cases, they are glued to their devices because they see how glued you are to yours.
You will find that your kids will give up their tech much easier if you don’t use yours all day.
How to do it: Plan some family outings and make a pact to leave your devices at home. Instead of taking pictures when you’re outside and posting them to social media, opt for making real memories instead of pictures. If you want to sneak a picture or two, how about going analog and teaching your kids all about the film?
3. Plan A “Tech-free Weekend” With Friends
One of the biggest draws of connected tech in the first place tends to be the ability to remain in constant communication with others. In many cases, however, this communication is shallow and superficial.
There is also a good chance your kid’s friend’s parents are just as concerned about the amount of time their kids are spending with digital devices as well.
Not only can digital devices create disconnects in families, but parents are often concerned about links being made between ADHD and the EMF (electromagnetic fields) that these devices create.
How to do it: Once you have decided it’s time for a tech-free weekend, help them stay connected with friends by actually having their friends over. This way, you not only part your kids from their devices, but you help them understand what real connection is all about.
4. Plan Non-tech Activities
Once again, the key to getting kids away from tech is to give them something more interesting to do. The internet abounds with activities ranging from arts & crafts to simple science projects. Even in a connected world, kids are still generally fascinated by experiments and similar stuff.
Instead of just having them watch an experiment on YouTube, let them do the experiment themselves!
How to do it: See what happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar or even drop a roll of Mentos into a bottle of soda. While they may have actually seen these experiments conducted on various videos, there is just little that is as thrilling as watching it happen in living color.
The Ultimate Goal: Helping Your Kids Find Hobbies
Parting your kids from their devices might not be nearly as difficult as you think it is, but you also need to replace it with something. Kids turn to their tech when they are bored or feeling a lack of connection. While they certainly don’t need to be entertained every minute of the day, there is certainly nothing wrong with giving them some incentives to part with their tech.
One key is to find out what they love and help them find a way to fill their time with that in ways that don’t involve digital devices. Teach your child the joy of journaling with a good old-fashioned pen and paper or creating craft projects on something other than a computer or even playing an actual instrument rather than a digital keyboard.
Always keep in mind, however, kids do what you do. If you want them to take some time away from their devices, you will most likely need to do the same.
Michelle Laurey is a telecommuting wordsmith who especially enjoys writing on a cloudy day. Always interested in ways which can help individuals reach their full potential in life, she enjoys producing stories on entrepreneurship, productivity, lifestyle, and health. Outside her keyboard, she enjoys visiting cozy coffee shops and taking long urban strolls with her boyfriend. Reach out to her on Twitter.