It can sometimes be hard for kids to trade the excitement of the digital world for real-world experiences. This guide will help you and your kids talk about the value of balance, so that they can feel good about unplugging every once in a while.
Begin by asking your kids why they use digital devices and what their activities are. What do they think is good about those uses? Make sure you talk about the things your kids do frequently, like streaming videos or gaming.
Next, talk about the offline activities your kids like to do. What is it about these activities that they enjoy? How are they different from what they do online? How do these activities make them feel compared to the online activities?
Discuss with your kids if they ever feel like their digital activities keep them from doing or enjoying things offline. If so, how does that make them feel and why? Then, switch it around: do offline activities ever keep them from digital activities? As always, it’s helpful to follow up with how this makes them feel and why.
Lastly, brainstorm ways they can do more of the things they like to do – both offline and online – without feeling like they’re missing out on something.
Balance is unique for every family—work together to create your own definition.
As you’re talking with your kids, make sure you’re considering your own blend of offline and online activities. Are there things you could do to help model the habits you hope to see your kids adopt?
Consider how the offline and online worlds often overlap. For example, you could use your maps app to find new places to explore, or you might use search to find a recipe to cook together.
Natasha Bhuyan, MD
“Rather than creating a negative frame around time with technology, as parents and digital mentors we should be creating positive, non-digital experiences for kids.”
Work together to come up with a list of five offline activities your family already loves to do or would like to try. Discuss what you like about each of these activities and how they’re both similar and different from online things you all like to do. Hang your list on the refrigerator or a convenient place in the house and start checking them off!