If your child is using online platforms or programs for schoolwork, ensuring a healthy balance between non-school related online activities and offline time is especially important.
Here are some helpful tips
- During non-school hours at home, establish time limits around when and for how long your child can be online.
- Use the available technologies — parental controls and tools to monitor online time allow you to measure and set time limits on device use or internet access. Be honest and open about why you want to use these technologies.
- Turn off notifications for social media apps to help minimise distractions.
- Depending on your child’s age, you can establish a family tech agreement that balances time spent in front of screens with offline activities. You can find templates by searching online.
- Include ‘offline’ activities in your routine at home — this can include family exercise, reading time or board games.
- Reduce your own time online to model positive behaviour!
Increased connectivity may have negative health impacts.
Signs to watch for include
- tiredness, sleep disturbance, headaches,
- eye strain
- changes in eating patterns
- reduced personal hygiene
- constantly talking about particular online programs, such as a gaming site
- extreme anger when being asked to take a break from online activity
- appearing anxious or irritable when away from the computer/device
- becoming withdrawn from friends and family.
If you notice your child experiencing these issues, you might need to take further steps to help encourage balance. Consider contacting online or telephone counsellors or calling your local doctor for advice.