You have worried about it, we all have.

That the amount of time your kids are spending on devices is having a negative effect on your family life.

In the past decade our world has been turned upside down with the latest and greatest in technology and mobile devices, and this is effecting the amount of quality time we share together as a family.

Everywhere you look you see children (and adults) on some sort of mobile device. As a result of this dependency they are losing the ability to effectively live without them and personal face-to-face communications and conversation are suffering, especially within the family unit.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe technology has incredible upside and benefit. I love tech, it’s where I get my income from, but as I have always said ‘technology is an amazing servant but a terrible master’ and this is where the problems start.

Parenting in this digital landscape requires us to develop new approaches and strategies to what our parents used to raise happy and healthy kids.

This is the most complex time in history to be a parent. We are now raising kids that are ‘digital natives’ who have never known anything else but a world of technology which is what is contributing to this ‘device dependency syndrome’.

Device dependency like any addiction occurs when someone engages in an activity that brings them pleasure but continued use then becomes extremely compulsive, and potentially harmful. This compulsion then begins to interfere with everyday life, responsibilities, relationships, and even health.

Consider this and then look at the behaviours of children and you quickly see the early signs of device dependency addiction. How many times have your kids been unable to self manage the time spent playing games?

Rest assured there is a solution, it just takes a bit of courage and follow through, but the rewards are well worth it.

You can implement some very simple strategies at home when it comes to mobile device use that will help get your kid’s heads out of technology and into a family conversation.

3 Steps to get your kids out of their devices

  1.  Have a family meeting and explain the importance of spending quality time together, the benefits for all, and your new plan of attack. It is important to obtain buy in at this point. Don’t make it a telling or yelling session, it needs to be two way.
  2. Develop a code of conduct for technology and mobile device use in the home and ensure this is clearly communicated, understood and that consequences and rewards are followed through on. Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started:
    – Don’t allow mobile devices to be used during mealtimes
    – Impose boundaries and time limits on kid’s device use depending upon their age
    – Consider not allowing phone / device use in bedrooms or at bedtime to eliminate the phone lying right next to your child’s head when they fall asleep
  3. Ensure that you make a conscious effort to lead by example and that you are 100% committed and focussed to connecting with your kids. Make this a really positive experience and seek to connect with them around what is important to them.

A conscious effort to change bad habits can be challenging but will ultimately have positive results. Put your foot down and stick to your plan (and ignore all of the initial grumbling and resistance you will most likely get) and get back to a healthy family lifestyle.