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Oregon Family Magazine

Digital Awareness for Parents

11/03/2019 ● By Sandy Kauten
If you’re a parent of a young child, it’s extremely likely that you’re cognizant of (or just as likely, concerned with) your child’s use of electronic devices. Which is completely understandable: computers are our almost permanent companions now, and it’s important that your child grows up having a healthy relationship with technology. They should come to understand how helpful it can be, and also realize how overuse can be a negative thing.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to guide your child’s use of their smart devices. Both iOS and Android have built-in ways to do this: Apple calls theirs “Screen Time” and you can find it in your general settings; Google’s is called “Digital Wellbeing” and provides similar functionality. Both allow you to set daily time limits for specific apps and websites, restrict usage during certain hours of the day, and block any apps and web content you wish. You can set this up on their device with a passcode, and also link it with your phone to manage all these settings remotely.

Of course, the best way to keep your child from overusing their devices is to teach them to self-regulate, creating healthy habits at a young age that they will carry with them into adulthood. In addition, all of these features are also available to set up for yourself as well, so you can see how much time you spend on your phone per day.

And digital content doesn’t have to be mindless; there are plenty of online resources to keep your kids sharp over the long holiday breaks. Here are just a few:

Prodigy - This website offers a selection of fun, free math-based games, with skill levels ranging from 1st to 8th grade.

NFL Play 60 - This fitness-focused app lets kids log and track their real-world activities--like sports, biking, or steps taken--in exchange for in-game points.

Public Library - The public library is an excellent resource for all sorts of media, not just books. Check out magazines, eBooks, music, DVDs, and even video games, all through your library membership.

Kanopy - A free streaming service, provided through your public library membership. Users can watch up to 10 movies a month at no charge, and there’s a dedicated “Kids” section with a variety of TV shows and movies. You won’t find blockbusters, but there’s plenty of great indie and art-focused films to choose from.

Khan Academy - Free courses on almost any subject you can think of! Videos and interactive lessons make learning fun and easy. Great for kids and adults alike.