You hear a lot about parental control and internet child protection nowadays and even more about limiting screen time for your children. The problem is that we all know that the internet poses a real problem (and opportunity!) to our children, so setting rules and limits can be hard.
This is where the term ‘low-tech parent’ comes in, because with a few simple rules you can keep your children as safe as possible and still give them their computer time.
What is a low-tech parent?
Did you know that Steve Jobs (the founder of Apple) considered himself to be a low-tech parent? Not only Steve Jobs, but many other CEOs of high-tech companies are also low-tech parents.
Low-tech parents that set strict screen time limits on their children, exerting their parental control in what some may say - is out of sync with today’s tech-hungry younger generation. It all comes down to how much access to the internet and to technology, you give to your children.
We all recognise that our children our growing up in a world where social media, computers, smartphones and access to information at the click of a button is an accepted way of life. We can’t eliminate technology from our kid’s lives and it wouldn’t be right to do that, even if we could.
Our children need to be comfortable with the internet - we just need to find a balance between being seen as an internet fascist and embracing a set of rules for intelligent internet child protection in our homes.
How to be a low-tech parent
Low-tech parents are defined as those that allow their children access to the internet, but within very strict limits. They limit their screen time, their access to computers and at what age they are allowed to have mobile devices. Below are some generalities, which you can adapt for your family:
Screen time limits: During the week, children are only allowed on the computer if they need it for their homework; if they don’t have homework, they cannot use the computer. At weekends, there are limits of between 30 minutes and 2 hours on the computer and mobile devices.
Access to computers: Apart from setting screen time limits during the week and on weekends, low-tech parents do not allow computers and mobile devices in the
Age restrictions: Many low-tech parents do not give a smartphone to their children until they are at least 14 years of age and a data plan, only when they reach 16 years
Obviously, you don’t want to curtail your child’s creativity, so you need to monitor what they are actually doing online (playing games, chatting, being creative) and design a plan which suits your lifestyle and your beliefs. The right amount of screen time is a hotly debated topic with families all having very different views on what is 'right'.