Why Are You Setting Up Parental Controls?
Parental Controls – Why?
Often kids like things just the way they are and question why anything has to change. When parents begin instituting new rules and setting up parental controls, kids may get angry. A common question is: “Don’t you trust me?”
Share Your Reasons for Setting Limits
1. You trust your child (if true), but you don’t trust the content on the internet. It’s your job as the parent to create safe boundaries, and you think they’ll be glad you did. You want them to be able to explore their interests freely without stumbling upon inappropriate content that once seen can’t be unseen.
2. Technology companies have intentionally designed games, social media, and video platforms to be addictive, so they can make more money. They get paid by advertisers to keep users hooked, which is why it can be so hard to turn disconnect.
- Talk about your child’s favorite game and what makes them want to keep playing. Help them to see its addictive features.
- Share this article if age-appropriate: Tech Companies Use Persuasive Design to Get Us Hooked
3. You want to minimize the conflict around screen time in your household
- You value your relationship above anything else and find that the battles over screen time are taking too much of a toll
- You’ll know you’ve struck a better balance when the level of conflict is occasional (once or twice a month) instead of daily or weekly
4. You want your child to value his or her free time
- Free time doesn’t always have to equal screen time
- You will support your child in developing their interests, hobbies, and friendships
- Use our TimeWise Calculator as a jumping-off point–it can help your child to see how they’re spending their time
5. We don’t yet know the impact of screens on children’s brains–there’s just not enough data. What we do know is too much screen time:
- Causes us to be sedentary–we don’t get enough movement or physical activity
- Keeps us from getting outside and fresh air
- Replaces time for reading and playing with other children
- Exposes us to blue light which can be harmful to our eyes
6. You want your child to develop a balanced relationship with technology
- Today, because there’s no shortage of good content, it can be hard to turn devices off. In our day, there were a limited number of channels and eventually, our options ran out
- Time limits act as the off switch so your child knows when they’ve reached the limit
Easing into Life with Limits
When asked, some kids will actually suggest reasonable time limits–it can never hurt to try! Also, we’ve created Our Family Agreement to help parents set expectations and guidelines so that everyone has a shared understanding. It’s worth investing the time in having these conversations before you’re too far down the technology path, but it can still be a helpful tool if a reset is needed.
Implementing screen limits in the short term may be a bit rocky, but once kids get used to it, everyone is ultimately happier because there’s a less ongoing conflict. And letting the technology do the work for you is better than engaging in a physical tug-of-war over devices.