Fredericksburg Parent

October 2017

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24 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • October 2017 Budgeting Your Kids' Screen Time Today's parents are the first generation to be challenged with raising their chil- dren in a completely different digital environment than how they grew up. Twenty-first century children are being introduced to digital media in utero and seem to come into the world already understanding how technol- ogy works. This phenomenon is leaving pre–digital era parents struggling to keep up with their children's obsession with screen time. As one of these parents, the scariest thought is trying to explain the differ- ence between reality and virtual reality to our children who know no different media formats and have nothing to compare it to, since they were born in the mid-digital age. It all makes me a bit anxious but our children are growing up alongside it and seem to be adapting just fine. So, how do we stop the madness when children have instant access to every- thing digitally ? WRITTEN BY NIKKI DUCAS family money DON'T BUY GADGETS FOR THEM. My eldest is always asking to download a new game. If he wants a new game, then he has to remove an old one. We research the game on before downloading it on my husband's iPad. Yes, I said my husband's iPad. It belongs to the adults, not the children. KEEP ELECTRONICS IN PLAIN SIGHT. We keep tabs on electronic use in our house. We have only one TV with a gaming console, the children's computer is in the family room, and we have instituted an electronics charging station. Plus, electronics are not allowed in bedrooms or while eating at the table. KEEP THEM BUSY. Registering them for extracurricular activities doesn't leave much time for TV, video games or tablets. SET REASONABLE TIME LIMITS. In our house, my children don't get electronics before school or church. Electronics are a privilege and are the first to be taken away as a conse- quence. However, I am the first to admit I use their screen time to my advantage and use it to incentivize my children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of digital entertainment time per day for school-age children; this basically includes anything with a screen on it. Of course, this is not a one size fits all for all children and families, these are simply recommendations. Find what works for your kids and stick with it. Now to apologize for laughing at my parents for not being technology savvy; little did I realize I'd be racing to keep stride with my own children's digital prowess.

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