With the advent of smartphones and tablets, technology has never been more prevalent in the lives of everyday families. According to a study by Ipsus Reid, Canadians now spend more time on the internet than they do watching television.

Feedback from the Canadian Paediatric Society, suggests that parents are overwhelmingly looking for advice about how to set limits for their children’s screen time. The effects of increased technology use is still being debated by social scientists, but a few trends have surfaced. According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, overuse of digital mediums have been correlated with physical inactivity, sleep disruption, and lack of socialization.


That being said, time spent with digital devices is not inherently bad. Recent studies have suggested that screen time is good for discovery learning and cognitive development. The idea that with the use of technology, children’s interests turn into passion, and with the infinite amount of information that technology holds, children can use this tool to guide their own learning. It has also been observed that exposure to digital media has the ability to increase empathy in youth, as well as acceptance of diversity according to David Buckingham in his 2013 book “Beyond Technology”.

The speed at which technology is advancing is stunning. Think about it, 10 years ago smartphones didn’t exist. Prior to that, approximately 40 years ago, the first personal computers entered the market. Nowadays, our children feel deprived if they do not have the latest smartphone. But it’s not just about kids wanting the newest gadgets. In 2011, the United Nations declared internet access a basic human right. As such, it has become nearly impossible in today’s society to function without basic access to the internet.

Technology is not going away, and it is not backing down. In fact, it continues to develop and evolve. Educational institutions and parents have a responsibility to our youth to teach, guide, and support positive habits surrounding technology. These positive habits come in the form of moderation.

As technology becomes a more integral part of everyday life, studies show that kids thrive with a balance of both screen time and time to unplug. Here are a few ways to set boundaries and make sure your child is getting the healthy balance they need.


Lead By Example

If you are constantly on your phone or computer, your children will notice this and pick up on these habits. pend time unplugging yourself and be a role model for your children.


Tech-Free Family Activities

Whether it’s going for a walk, playing outside, working on a puzzle, or playing board games your entire family can unplug. Building strong face-to-face communication and relationship skills with family is vitally important for developing social skills.


Have Work Sessions With Your Kids

When you have work to do at home, make it a family work session. Your kids can do their homework or play games on their com- puters, and you get the peace of a quiet home while work- ing and your kids can exercise their technological skills.


Take Part In Your Kid’s Online Activities

If your child is playing a game, ask them to explain it to you or teach you how to play.


Set Time Limits

Time limits on devices is a good way to give your kids freedom, but allow room for other activi- ties. For example, 30 minutes to an hour playing games or entertainment, then an hour of educational content.

Encouraging healthy technological habits is a big responsibility as many parents and adults struggle with it themselves. Technology and the internet have plenty of negative connotations when it comes to raising children, but you can change this perception in your home. Technology is only going to evolve further, so as a parent, you have the power to support and teach healthy routines and online activity.