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kid on a phone with headphones on; illustrated app icons Screen Time

5 Healthy Tech Habits for Kids

The Bark Team  |  June 27, 2023

kid on a phone with headphones on; illustrated app icons

Will Durant famously said (or not so famously said, as this quote is often misattributed to Aristotle), “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” This saying holds more weight than ever during your child's teen years. The habits instilled in them become the backbone of their identity and provide the structure for how they navigate their adult life.  

There’s certainly plenty to be focused on, from helping your child create good hygiene, health, and wellness routines to fostering study and social skills. But there’s one more realm you’ll want to touch on — healthy tech habits. Kidss today spend more time on their phones than ever before, and without the proper attention paid to developing healthy habits around this ever-present entity, your child could form some pretty damaging behaviors. Check out our five tips for fostering healthy tech habits in your child below.

5 Healthy Tech Habits for Kids

1. Create tech boundaries

Healthy relationships are all about boundaries, and just like the relationships with your friends, family or partner, setting boundaries can make your relationship with technology better and easier to navigate. It's equally important to set physical boundaries for tech. For example, designate places where devices are off-limits, like the bedroom, the dinner table, in the classroom, in the car, etc.—as it is to set more abstract action-based boundaries. For example, no screens an hour before bed, no phones during meals and no texting while driving. Establishing these set rules not only clarifies your personal interactions with technology but also shows friends and family that you value their time and are present and engaged.

2. Set weekly screen time limits

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average kid spends up to seven hours — or around 40 percent of their waking hours — in front of a screen. While some of this time is necessary, like that spent in front of a computer studying or even catching up with friends, too much screen time can be taxing on your child and when it starts interfering with your child’s sleep, it can have much bigger health and behavioral consequences. Help your child take control of their tech usage by chatting with them about how much time they want to spend in front of a screen and set limits from there. Your tween or teen, along with the rest of us, most likely doesn’t even realize how much time they are spending online. By bringing this top of mind for your child, you’ll help them feel empowered to create a healthy balance between their digital life and other important “real-life” experiences.

3. Schedule tech-free outdoor time

Embrace the benefits of nature and allocate dedicated tech-free outdoor time. Whether it's going for a walk, playing sports, or simply enjoying the fresh air, spending time outside without the distraction of screens has been shown by the American Psychological Association to improve your mental and physical well-being. Encourage your child to start small with just 30 minutes spent outside three days a week without their phone, and then encourage them to go for longer and longer periods of time.

4. Make mindful choices

Often how much time you are spending in front of screens isn’t nearly as important as what you are doing in front of those screens. In order to get the most out of your tech time make mindful choices that align with your values and goals. Select apps, websites and social content that is educational, inspiring and meaningful to you. By consciously curating your tech experience, you can maximize its potential for growth and self-improvement while minimizing distractions and time wasting.

5. Turn off notifications

Notifications can be a big productivity killer! A study conducted at the University of California, Irvine, found that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to fully regain focus after being interrupted by a notification. By disabling notifications, you can create uninterrupted blocks of time for studying, deep work or engaging in activities that require your full attention. This simple habit can significantly enhance your ability to stay focused, retain information, and accomplish tasks more efficiently.

How Bark Can Help

In combination with healthy tech habits for kids, parents can use Bark to help enforce screen time limits, aid in creating boundaries, and more. Open up a dialogue with your child today about healthy tech habits, and consider filling out and signing off on a tech contract that both you and your child can return to. 

Bark helps families manage and protect their children’s digital lives.

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