Maybe your teen got the latest model smartphone for Christmas, or your toddler got a tablet that you swear you’ll only use for educational purposes. After what was hopefully a joyful holiday season, now is the perfect time to consider how you can make the most of the time you have in the new year with your family—especially when it comes to media use.
Common Sense Media, who seeks to “empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.”
In a helpful blog post for Common Sense, Caroline Knorr offers a list powerful yet simple New Year’s resolutions every family should consider if they want to be intentional regarding the media that permeates their lives and “raise kids with a healthy, balanced relationship with screens.”
“Be curious — not judgy — about your kid’s media.”
There’s no doubt about it, it seems almost every new trend our kids seem to catch onto is just plain weird. “…Often, when kids get into things we don’t know about or understand, we worry,” Knorr writes. “And that makes us clamp down, when we really should be opening up.”
Instead, Knorr suggests doing something your kids are into: “Play Fortnite, watch Good Mythical Morning, read a Rick Riordan book, download Snapchat or Tik Tok. Talk to your kids and see what they like about the most popular apps, YouTube shows, and social media. They’ll respond better to your concerns if you’ve experienced these things for yourself.”
“Help your kid learn to manage themselves.”
“Two things make it really hard for kids to get off their devices,” Knorr explains. “First, they’re not great at self-regulating yet. And second, games, apps, social media, and even streaming services are all designed to keep them hooked as long as possible.”
Listen, technology isn’t going away, and our goal as parents shouldn’t be to make it go away. Instead, we want to put in the effort, even through the hard days, to teach our kids balance.
“Use tech such as screen-time settings and parental controls as tools to help your kids gain the skills they need to draw limits,” Knorr suggests, even if it means occasionally taking the “blunt-force” approach and turning off the internet for a spell.
“If they prove they’re good at sticking to limits, ease off a bit,” Knorr writes. “If they falter, keep your eyes on the prize. With your support, encouragement, and guidance, they’ll get there.”
“Have a family movie night.”
It might seem like a cliché, but nothing can possibly replace quality time with your kids, especially when consuming any kind of media. Exposing you and your children to countless teachable moments (from appropriate, ideally pre-viewed films and shows), the family movie night is a powerful tool.
“You can talk about issues, characters’ strengths and flaws, and themes,” Knorr suggests. And, if you’re a homeschooling family, holding a thoughtful conversation during a science- or history-themed movie definitely counts as a lesson!
“Take one small step toward privacy.”
Whether you are looking to protect your kids from peer pressure, online predators, or even just tasteless advertising, media privacy is crucial for families. “Lots of companies get around the Children’s Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) and collect data on kids’ accounts,” Knorr explains. “This means they could be targeted with ads and other creepy stuff.”
Thankfully, you can control your privacy settings with any device or app you use, you just need to do some tweaking in your account settings.
“Embrace the “digital wellness” trend.”
Technology is meant to be a positive aspect of our lives, not a detriment, a stumbling block, or an addiction. If any of those are apt descriptors for tech use in your family, Knorr urges you to take a deep breath and evaluate the situation.
In response to the dark side of screen time, giants in the industry such as Facebook and Google are now offering several digital wellness features. Although they aren’t meant to replace personal discipline, Knorr says “they’re a good reminder to be more self-aware and ditch what doesn’t feel truly helpful or enjoyable.”
“If there’s something you’d like to cut down on, use built-in tools to set limits for yourself,” she continues. “Help your kids become more aware of their own online time and help them take control of their use, too. You don’t have to shut everything down. But really focus on what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, and why.”
God created humans with incredible capabilities, imagination, and creativity. Our use of technology can be a great gift, but it will take a healthy dose of responsibility for families to find a healthy balance. If screen time has become a beast in your family, try these simple steps today to tame it.
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STRANGER THAN FICTION: ‘Law and Order’ Mashes Ilhan Omar into Covington Catholic Scandal
This is lazy writing at its very finest.
Day in and day out, writers in Hollywood work to create arcing storylines and thoughtful dialogue that we may hear passively while we’re cooking dinner. All of the work that goes into weekly television occurs ad nauseam, no matter the reality of the those producing it. The show must go on, essentially, and there are times in which writers get a little bit lazy. Some of television’s most profound pieces of real estate fall victim to such concerns week after week, and these lazy and uninspired bits often conflate themselves into a loss of viewership. It is this concern that has Law and Order: SVU staff worried this week. NBC crime procedural Law & Order: Special Victims Unit featured a “ripped from the headlines” theme in its latest episode, which smeared the Covington Catholic kids by pitting them against an Ilhan Omar-styled character who is portrayed as a hero. The plot centered on a poor, put-upon Islamic city politician being confronted by a red ballcap-wearing crowd of young men who scream at her and taunt her. But the episode also throws in a big dollop of male oppression and lesbianism for good measure, Newsbusters reported. The Law & Order: SVU episode entitled, “Assumptions,” opens with a pair of teenaged boys running away from a vandalized mosque in which we soon see that Muslim Councilwoman Nahla Nasar (Nazneen Contractor) has been raped. The story, which is an amalgam of two real life American situations, was undoubtedly meant to invoke the emotions of the politically-savvy US populace in order to sell commercials on NBC. This monetization of the American outrage machine is something worth monitoring, especially as we slip closer and closer to the possibility of a constitutional crisis…at least according to the liberal left.
Infotainment Personality from NBC Mocked After Likening Climate Change To…
Here is yet another example of the mainstream media turning to sideshow tactics to keep advertisers happy, while scaring the daylights out of the rest of us.
The American people seem to forget a very salient point regarding the mainstream media, seemingly on a daily basis: It’s all for show. The entirety of the television “news” industry is dependent upon selling commercial advertising space in between salacious segments of shouting, and it shows. The competition is stiff on cable, too, creating an opportunity for networks to desperately grasp at niche demographics with their coverage. And while it certainly is entertaining, it doesn’t equate to too much else, especially in this digital world where the facts are easily attainable. This reality may be most prevalent in issues that are heavily divided down party lines and, therefore, tend to create the most drama…something that advertisers love. It’s the chasing of this revenue that has led on NBC infotainment personality to take his climate change rhetoric out of this world. An NBC News reporter raised eyebrows and prompted pushback from an MSNBC host after suggesting that climate change is like an alien invasion that is visible to everyone. The reporter, Jacob Ward, made the odd comparison following the release of the United Nations climate change report that claims a number of “transformative changes” will be needed to save nature and humanity from climate change and other threats. What exactly did he say? “Yeah, you know, it really is devastating, Stephanie. I mean, this is how dark the times are in the view of researchers… people are sort of getting ready for the horrors that this report is talking about. So it is dark times, I gotta say,” he told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle during a Monday show. Ruhle then lamented that “there’s not even a consensus around climate change,” prompting Ward to make the comparison. “I know, I know. I mean, that’s the thing, right? You look at it and you think…
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