Role Modelling and Healthy Technology Use

 

Children are influenced by their parents’ technology use. This means that being a role model for healthy technology use is a good way to help your child learn to use technology responsibly.

 

How your technology use influences your child

What you do and say guides your child’s behaviour, attitudes and beliefs in most things, including technology use. Your child is strongly influenced by the way you use technology and is likely to copy what you do. So it’s worth thinking about the messages and examples you’re sending your child about technology and its place in your life.

 

For example, if you enjoy using your phone regularly but can put it away when you go for a family walk, it sends your child the message that social media is just one option for entertaining yourself and relaxing. It also gives your child ideas for other ways to spend her time. It also means you are happy to let go of your phone and that it hasn't taken over your life.

 

But if you feel worried about being offline for an hour and you get agitated or snappy if this happens, it can send a different message. Likewise, if you sleep with your phone near your bed, take it into the bathroom when you shower, or panic if you misplace it, it might send the message that you really can’t live without a phone.

 

Role-modelling healthy technology use

Healthy technology use is about using technology in a balanced, positive and fun way. It’s also about making sure that technology is just one of the ways that you relax, entertain yourself or get your information – not the only way. Healthy technology use is also what you use technology for, not just how long you use it.

 

Here are some ideas for healthy technology use that you can use to set a good example for your child:

 

  • Set aside some phone-free time each day, so you can be ‘in the moment’ with your child. It could be when your child gets home from school or you get home from work, during family mealtimes, when you’re watching your child play sport, and so on.
  • If you get a text message or social media update while you’re talking to someone, especially your child, wait until the conversation is finished before you check it.
  • If you are collecting your child from school or nursery put your phone away. They want to see your face not the back of the phone!
  • Try not to have your phone, tablet or laptop in your bedroom at night. Charge your media devices overnight in the kitchen or lounge room, and teach your child to do the same.
  • Switch off the TV at family mealtimes or when it’s ‘on in the background’. You could try listening to some music or a podcast instead.
  • Share the positives things you do with technology to keep in touch with family and friends by sending texts, making video calls or using social media.