It can sometimes be hard for children to trade the excitement of the digital world for real-world experiences. This guide will help you and your children talk about the value of balance, so that they can feel good about unplugging their devices every once in a while.
Begin by asking your children why they use digital devices and what their activities are. What do they think is good about those uses? Make sure that you talk about the things your children do frequently, like streaming videos or gaming.
Next, talk about the offline activities your children 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 children 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 that 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 children, make sure that you’re considering your own blend of offline and online activities. Are there things that you can do to help model the habits that you hope to see your children 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 children.”
Work together to come up with a list of five offline activities that 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 that you all like to do. Stick your list on the fridge or a convenient place in the house and start ticking them off!