Holiday Technology Tips from Smart Gen Society!
The holiday season is here and no matter how you celebrate this year, there is one thing that you can find in almost any household: technology. Students are on holiday break and families are spending more time together, so Smart Gen Society wants to share some tips with you to help manage technology use this week!
Tip #1: Imagine what you want this time together to look like.
Take time to visualize how you want to spend this time with your family. Are there specific times that you want no devices, such as during meals or while playing games? Establish those early so everyone can join in, even other adult family members.
Tip #2: Plan for alternative activities to keep everyone entertained.
If you anticipate that there will be a large amount of downtime, make a plan for things to do instead of relying on devices for entertainment. Ideas for this could be a gingerbread house decorating contest, visiting a tree farm or driving around to see Christmas lights, or enjoying the outdoors and snow as a family. Suggest activities like this or whatever your family will enjoy and encourage everyone to put their devices aside.
Tip #3: Think critically before gifting technology.
Christmas is a very popular time of year to gift new tech to kids, and according to a 2022 survey, almost 199 million U.S. adults will buy tech as presents this holiday season. There is nothing wrong with that but Smart Gen Society encourages you to think first before you put them under the tree. No matter what you are gifting (smartphone, tablet, etc.), decide if your child is ready to receive that new tech. Here are a few things Smart Gen Society wants families to take into consideration:
- Is your child old enough for this technology? Are they responsible enough to care of an expensive item like this?
- Make a plan for the new device before gifting so you have clear rules set for your household. Are there specific times during the day that they can use the device? Where will the device be stored at night? (Another friendly tip: Don’t allow tech in the bedrooms at night. They will get more sleep, and you will thank us!)
- Look at the settings! Every device is different, so open the device, power it on, and take a look. Almost every device has parental settings that you can establish before you gift. Doing this will help you think about what the usage of this device will look like. It will be ready to be used when opened and you will not have to worry about setting it up during the busy day.
- If you need help with setting up parental controls on a device, call us and we can help you!
Tip #4: Practice what you preach.
If establishing some boundaries for your family around devices this holiday season is important to you, we encourage you to follow those rules yourself too. In a survey from 2019, 86 percent of adults stated their children complained they spend too much time on their devices. If you find yourself using your tech to pass time, your family will mirror that.
Tip #5: Take this time to reset for the new year.
During this season, think about what you want in 2023. Consider a year with less device use, or maybe even less social media use. Purge the apps that are not serving you. Take a look at your Facebook friend list, you may be surprised at the people you are still connected to online. Start the year with a clean social media presence, or no presence at all! Look at the settings on your devices and consider setting up some Screen Time settings (iPhone user tip: in your settings, search ‘Screen Time’. Look at where you are putting your energy. Are you happy with what you see?) No matter what you do, remember that device detoxes and social media breaks are important every once in a while, not only for your mental health but for your general well-being.
We want to remind everyone, especially parents and caregivers, that this is a time that comes with a huge increase in social media usage among children. With more social media use comes more risk for online bullying, exploitation, and overall depressing results. If you notice any issues online or encounter any digital crisis, please call us at: 402-505-3993. Smart Gen Society can help you and your family with online issues or concerns and connect you with the correct authorities, if necessary.
Smart Gen Society wishes everyone a Happy Holiday, we hope you find these tips helpful for you and whomever you surround yourself with this season!