Dear Holmes Families,
October is National Cyber Security Awareness month. With this in mind, the Holmes Safety Committee put together a two part series, using some great info from Healthy Children.org, for parents in the “Digital Age”.
Using digital devices provides a great deal of benefit, when used appropriately and in moderation. However, “research has shown that face-to-face time with family, friends, and teachers plays a pivotal and even more important role in promoting children's learning and healthy development. Keep the face-to-face up front, and don't let it get lost behind a stream of media and tech.” (healthychildren.org) Consider the following tech tips:
- Make your own family media use plan. Think about what type of media use and when meets the needs of your family. Be sure to not let it replace face-to-face interaction, family-time, outdoor-play, exercise, unplugged downtime and sleep.
- Set limits and encourage playtime. Media use, like all other activities, should have reasonable limits. Unstructured and offline play stimulates creativity. Make unplugged playtime a daily priority, especially for very young children.
- Screen time shouldn't always be alone time. Co-view, co-play and co-engage with your children when they are using screens - it encourages social interactions, bonding, and learning. Don't just monitor them online—interact with them, so you can understand what they are doing and be a part of it.
- Be a good role model. Teach and model kindness and good manners online. Because children are great mimics, limit your own media use. In fact, you'll be more available for and connected with your children if you're interacting, hugging and playing with them rather than simply staring at a screen.
- Know the value of face-to-face communication. Very young children learn best through two-way communication. Engaging in back-and-forth "talk time" is critical for language development.
- Limit digital media for your youngest family members. Avoid digital media for toddlers younger than 18 to 24 months other than video chatting. For children 18 to 24 months, watch digital media with them because they learn from watching and talking with you. Limit screen use for preschool children, ages 2 to 5, to just 1 hour a day of high-quality programming.
Be on the lookout for Part 2 in the next few weeks...