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After a rollercoaster of a year, the summer holidays are finally on the horizon for most of us. If you have a family and school-age children, this means the long summer holidays.
In a perfect world this means plenty of “analogue” activities like playing outside, trips to the pool or beach and playing with friend and family. But, in reality holidays often mean a spike in digital and online activities for children.
As technology has changed, screen time has become a prime source of stress for parents, especially during the school holidays. The top 3 parental concerns that we see at Broadband Compare are:
The good news is that there are simple steps that you can take today to protect your family online and avoid screen-time stress. Plus, you can upgrade your connection today so that you don’t spend another school holiday suffering with a poor broadband connection.
Check out our top tips for protecting children online.
These top broadband providers provide ISP family filter services, along with high speed fibre broadband plans with unlimited data.
Stuff Fibre’s SafeZone helps filter out adult content, social media or anything undesirable should you need to. It is simple to use, with nothing to install, you can turn filters on and off from anywhere and it protects every device connected to your home network.
Orcon’s Family Filter is a non-intrusive first line of defence against R16+ sites; dating, drugs, gambling; alcohol and tobacco sites; known hacked or infected sites; sites about hacking and illegal activity; and suicide or self-harm site. It is usually included free in the first 12 months for new broadband customers, then for $5 per month.
Slingshot’s Family Filter protects your family against: 16+ sites, pornography, and nudity; known hacked or infected websites; dating, drugs, gambling, alcohol, tobacco sites; websites about hacking, dark web, and other illegal activity; and suicide and self-harm sites. It is usually included free in the first 12 months for new broadband customers, then for $5 per month.
Choose a broadband provider with a family filtering services. Spend some time before the holidays begin to make sure you understand how your service works and that it is set up correctly.
Have a family discussion with your children / teens and agree realistic and achievable limits around screen time. Make a plan that establishes firm rules about how much time your child can spend with screens, and where, when, what and with whom they can use screen time.
Knowing what your child is doing online can make a big difference – are they spending their time on leisure or learning? Is it age appropriate? Are they active or passive? There are plenty of fun apps that can help children learn or develop important skills like hand-eye coordination, literacy skills, relationship skills and more. Common Sense media review apps, games, website and movies to help parents decide what is appropriate for their children.
One of the main battles parents can have with kids online is “just one more show”, or “I just need to reach the next level. The feeling that they are never ‘done’ or ‘complete’ can cause ongoing disagreements. You may find it easier not to have prescribed time (eg: 1 hour) and rather have precise quantities or cut-off points. For example, “you can watch two episodes of your favourite show”, or “You can play four Fortnite battles”
Give kids plenty of warning before their screen-time will end. These simple spoken reminders allow kids to prepare themselves for the end of screen-time, and hopefully present a dreaded tech-tantrum.
Ideally, kids should only use screen in public areas of the house like the living room or dining room. Have clear rules about where it is ok to use screens and technology and make bedrooms, bathrooms and play areas tech-free.
One of the easiest ways to limit screen time during the school holidays is to plan tech-free activities each day. Try to plan plenty of opportunities to spent time outside with friends, engaging in physical activity, and outside in nature. We are lucky in New Zealand to have plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor spaces, library holiday programmes and community programmes. Plan bush walks, trips to the beach, museum visits, interesting crafts or projects.