Mobile Devices Are Changing Parenting Styles

A national study from the center on media and human development at Northwestern University sheds light on the ways digital technologies have changed parenting practices in the United States.  What part do interactive and mobile technologies play in 21st century parenting?  Has the iPad become the new pacifier?  With mobile technologies playing a larger role in parenting styles, monitoring these devices has become even more important. WebWatcher provides the best software solutions for parents to monitor their kids’ mobile technology use.

Encourage physical activity instead of screen time after school.

After a long day at school, many kids just want to plop down in front of a computer or TV and veg out. Although kids definitely deserve a break, studies show that increasing physical activity during the day can lead to better sleep.

Keep devices off the bed.

It’s possible that the blue light emitted from laptops, tablets and smartphones interrupts sleep patterns. Set up other comfy spots in the living room or on the bedroom floor for tweens and teens to do computer work or just enjoy their screen time.

Make the bedroom a “no connection” zone.

The growing trend of sleep-texting is a disturbing enough reason to play it safe. Confine online activity to common areas such as the dining room or living room and have kids charge their phones in another room at night.

Minimize screen time right before bed.

Try to establish the hour or so before bed as a screen-free time for kids to wind down. A calming routine such as a bath followed by quiet activities or reading will help young kids make the transition more easily. Getting teens to “unplug” before bed will help them disconnect from the excitement and drama happening online.

Set up a phone/iPod charging station in the family room.

Some studies suggest that simply sleeping near small devices such as phones is associated with poorer sleep. With notifications and texts coming in at all hours, tweens’ and teens’ sleep will get fewer interruptions if they leave their phones in the living room or kitchen for the night.

Model healthy sleep habits.

No matter which ground rules and routines you put in place for your family, it will be a hard sell if you don’t practice what you preach. Young kids emulate their parents, and tweens and teens will question your rules if you don’t follow them yourself.