Okay, so addiction might be too strong a word, but many children spend more hours than they should be using the internet. Young children are hooked on Minecraft videos on YouTube, as well as popular channels such as ‘Ryan’s Toy Reviews’ and ‘Chase’s Corner.’ Older kids are social media obsessed, forever browsing the posts on their Facebook pages and posting pics of themselves on Instagram. Then there’s online gaming, vlogging, and online chat rooms to consider, each of which can become problematic if our children use these avenues for their social connections.
As the parent, you need to step in before the signs of addiction begin to show, if they haven’t already. You can learn more about potential internet addiction here; https://protectyoungeyes.com/does-my-kid-have-internet-addiction-how-to-know/.
Here are a few things you can do to break your child’s obsession with all things internet related.
Turn off the wifi
This might sound extreme, but it’s a surefire way to stop your children spending more hours than they should online. You can still allow your children to watch their favourite YouTube videos by downloading a few – https://setapp.com/how-to/download-youtube-videos – but because they will have a limited selection, they won’t be tempted to fall into that endless cycle of going from one video link to the next. And your children might also decide to try a few offline activities for a change, such as (whisper it) playing outside for a little while instead of spending all of their time cooped up indoors and online.
Schedule internet time
If turning off the wifi isn’t always practical, you can still enforce a few rules. So, you might only allow your children to use the internet after they have done their homework or household chores, or you might set a blanket ban after 7 pm (or whatever time suits you). To show solidarity, you might also reduce your time online, as this will role model positive behaviour to your children. During your internet downtime, you might then do something as a family, instead of sitting in the same room staring down at your phone and tablet screens.
Plan offline activities for your family
Your children won’t be tempted to spend all of their time online if you can find other things for them to do. So, you might set up your garden for a few outdoor activities, perhaps using the ideas I shared here. Or perhaps plan a movie night at home, play board games together, or take a few day trips where wifi isn’t available when you all have free time at the weekend. Not only will these activities take your children’s attention away from the internet, but they will also give you more bonding time as a family.
The internet is a wonderful invention, and for your children, it offers up all kinds of possibilities for both fun and learning. However, steps need to be taken to ensure your children don’t spend the entirety of their free time online. Follow our suggestions then, and while they might not be popular with your children at first, they will eventually get into the habit of living a life that isn’t always centered around screen time.