The internet and social media have become part of our everyday life, that we can almost not live without.

But as parents, we must decide who is in control, our devices, or our principles. It is extremely easy to excuse the need to always have our devices. We must be able to set boundaries and limits for ourselves on its use. We are examples to our children, and they will model after us whatever they see us do. If we are given to spending all our free time staring at our devices or watching TV, then to them it is ok and that is the normal way to live. While unlimited time with electronics may keep your child busy, you do not want them to have too much screen time.

We must have as part of our family standard a device and social media control system set up. Whether we believe it or not TV and social media have a way of educating our children, it indoctrinates them with attitudes, method of speaking, thinking, and acting whether we like it or not.

Some tips:


Keeping the TV on for background noise all the time or scrolling through your phone any the time you have a spare minute may not be modeling the screen-related behavior you hope to see in your kids.


You cannot teach your child about the risks of social media unless you understand the dangers yourself.

Today’s kids are tech-savvy. Most of them know more about electronics than adults do. Parents need to stay updated on the latest apps, games, social media platforms, and trends. This is important so you can be fully aware of what your kids are watching, playing, listening to, or following on social media.


This means there are areas in your house that devices are not allowed, e.g., on the dining table or when having a meal, when having a family time


There should be a set time where all members of the family agree to unplug their devices, phones, games, and TV turned off. This helps to bond and focusing on building a relationship and conversations, most especially to be present.


Putting a phone in the hands of a child and not setting rules and controls is like putting a gun in the hands of a child and saying be careful. Parental control is a tool you can use to protect your kids from accessing explicit content on the Internet and TV. You can download these control apps on their devices.


Even though you have parental control you must also be involved in their media lives by close monitoring. Check their devices regularly, go to the browser history and see what they have been watching. Children due to their inquisitive nature can find a way around these parental control apps, hence you must still be alert. When you notice certain behaviors and words ask them where you heard that or watch that.


If your kids understand that you are limiting your family’s screen time because too much time spent on screens has downsides, they are much more likely to follow the rules you set. If your kids just think you are “being mean,” they might be more likely to resist or break the rules you are trying to enforce.

Make sure that every member of your family is included in the discussion about screen time and are part of creating a set of boundaries that everyone can follow.


It is important you know the passwords for your kid’s social media handles. You might want to consider asking your kids for the passwords to their online and social media accounts. Kids do not always have the maturity necessary to handle online interactions and can be vulnerable to exposure to content that may be harmful to them, sometimes for life.


While you limit their screen times, replace them with other productive activities like, ask them what they would like to do alternatives. Playing outside, reading a book, or even digging out an old board game are just a few ideas.

With the wealth of apps, games, devices, and content, it is easy for kids to become reliant on electronics for entertainment. It can also help to establish (and enforce) a schedule that everyone in your home follows. Making it clear to your kids when they are allowed on screens and when they are not will help clarify your expectations and prevent arguments.


You might decide to make screen time a privilege rather than a right. If you use a form of discipline that involves taking away privileges (negative consequences), a child’s phone, laptop, or video game might be one such privilege.

However, once you’ve set a limit on how much screen time is allowed, don’t allow kids to earn extra time as a reward. Instead, stick to the daily limit and offer other free or low-cost rewards to reinforce positive behavior.

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