E-learning Holiday Tips
Top 10 tips from Dr. Kristy Goodwin
(Child development specialist, busy mum and cyber expert)
1. Create a media management plan before the holidays begin.
Set firm rules around what, when, where and how much screen-time each child is allowed. Don’t forget to clarify with whom it’s okay to connect, too.
2. Take time to help your child find high-quality, age-appropriate content.
The research is clear that “screen-time ain’t screen-time.” Interactive, educational apps and videos can be a wonderful addition to your child’s holiday fun. Mindlessly scrolling through social media, not so much.
3. Enforce the 20/20/20 rule to prevent eye damage.
Every 20 minutes, your child should take a 20-second break away from the screen, look at something 20 feet away (that’s about six metres), and blink at least 20 times.
4. Be exact in your instructions about cut-off points.
For example, “You can watch two episodes of PlaySchool, and then turn off the TV” or “You can get to level five in the game, and then you need to turn it off.”
5. Give warnings before screen-time ends.
Called “cognitive priming,” these simple verbal reminders get kids prepared for switch-off - thus preventing the dreaded techno-tantrum.
6. Get involved in what your child is doing online.
This is not only educational - it communicates that we value them and what they’re doing, and can prevent an “us v. them” situation from developing.
7. Establish no-tech zones.
Ideally, all children should use screens in publicly accessible rooms. I strongly recommend that parents keep bedrooms, bathrooms, meal zones and play areas device-free.
8. Rope off tech-free times.
Digital kids need “green time” - that is, time out of doors, in nature. Make sure all screens are switched off an hour before bedtime (ideally 90 minutes before, if you can manage it).
9. Don’t use screen-time as a reward - or, for that matter, as a punishment. It’s a short-term fix, and it sends the wrong messages.
10. Use parental controls to ensure kids aren’t accessing adult content. I personally use, and recommend, Family Zone. It keeps kids safe, and it also encourages mums and dads to talk to their kids about their online activity.