This post is sponsored by Verizon. Read on to learn more about balancing tech in your own family. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal views.
I remember when my parents started using a cell phone. I eventually received my own around the age of 16. Time sure flies, doesn’t it? Mobile technology has made its way into so many aspects of our lives. It’s difficult to imagine life without screens, especially for our kids.
Think about it! All kids today have grown up in a world of smartphones and tablets; it’s just normal for them. They see their parents glancing at their phones throughout the day and often absorbed in a digital conversation, video or article provided by our ever-present technology. It doesn’t take long before kids learn at a very young age how to operate these touchscreen devices. Kids love playing simple games or watching cartoon music videos about baby sharks. One day you’ll reach to take your device back and the child will not want to give it up.
“More!” they say, “I still want to use it!” It seems innocuous to let them continue to play… for 15 minutes… 30 minutes… longer? As a parent, I see that angelic face looking up at me; how can I deny my sweet little kiddo a few more minutes of digital fun? After all, I’m guilty of using my phone here, there and everywhere. My kids also see me working on my computer regularly, and occasionally watching a movie or a show as well. So what gives? Why consider limiting them at all?
When it really comes down to it, I do want my kids to be able to enjoy and learn with technology. I also want them to develop healthy habits and learn how to build quality relationships apart from tech—with family members and friends. One way our family works to achieve these goals is by managing the amount of screen time our kids get on a regular basis. That’s where the Verizon Family Tech Initiative comes in. Verizon has set itself up to cater to families in a big way. From helpful tips for parents about getting their kids a phone or tablet, to kid-friendly hardware, and amazing features like Family Locator and Verizon Smart Family.
We’ve allowed each of our children to use their own tablets a few afternoons a week, with hours controlled by us, the parents. Limited screen time is something you can set up with the Verizon Gizmo Tablet. Parents can configure the content by age or skill, set how long the tablet can be used for, and even see exactly which apps kids use and how often—those are some pretty epic features for us as parents.
As our kids get older, we’ll likely start them off with a smartwatch like the Gizmowatch from Verizon before they graduate to a full-blown smartphone. We are the first generation of parents to have young children who are growing up with this technology. As such, we need to be aware of how technology can affect them, and how we can be helping them to develop healthy habits and a healthy understanding of our technology. I encourage you to learn more about the Verizon Family Tech Initiative and read some of the super helpful articles about kids and tech or check out the newest products in the lineup.
Andy is dad to three kiddos and lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. He loves going on family adventures, hiking, and riding motorcycles and ATVS. He’s also an entrepreneur and runs a successful children’s brand specializing in solutions for playtime and snack time.