Children and Technology: Rules for the Use of Technology

How to guide children’s use of technology? Parents differ in setting rules and opinions on them. Based on our article, we can say that the approach to the use of technology by children is divided into two stacks of parents. Some parents prefer explicit rules for using technology and set them based on different principles. The other half of parents use implicit norms associated with the use of technology or don’t use rules at all. Neither of these approaches is wrong, it depends on the parents – what they agree on and how they want to lead the child. We want to introduce you to these two approaches of rules for the technology use by children and it is up to you which rules you choose, which rules you will use or not apply.

Explicit Rules for the Use of Technology

Clearly formulated rules primarily control the activities of children in their daily lives. The rules are clearly defined for both children and parents.

The Principle of Reward or, Punishment

Kids perceive these rules the most. They know if they are good, they will be rewarded by using technology, and if they do something wrong, they will be punished by banning of using the technology. Children will quickly learn that there are rules. They will know it is something like a duty, a task for which accomplishment the reward will come. On the other hand, if a child does something wrong, e.g. has a bad grade, then there is no reward – ban on the use of technology conditioned by improving behavior/apologize, etc.

The Principle of the Time of Using Technologies

Determining the time that can child spent by using technology, but also the number of fairytales, games, or the use of social networks. This rule regarding the regulation time of the use of technology also fulfills a preventive function for some parents, regulation as the prevention of, for example, internet addiction. Regulation of the use of technology can also fulfill the already mentioned function of reward and punishment.

The Principle of “Ritual”

By ritual, we mean the use of technology takes place at a certain interval or at a certain event. For example, children choose a fairytale before going to sleep. This watching of bedtime fairytale takes place at the same time every night – a ritual. 

Explicit rules may arise even after agreement with an external authority. For example, if your child has Asperger’s syndrome, autism, ADHD, etc., consults the use of technology with a psychologist.

The rules controlling the use of technology by children also apply to the parents themselves. For example, if you decide that children should not use phones during dinner, follow this rule as well – children are constantly learning from their parents. Or, for example, when watching programs with content unsuitable for children, it’s not just about restricting the child’s activities, it’s also about restricting the parent’s activities.

Implicit Rules for the Use of Technology

Implicit rules are related to the perception of technology by parents. When the use of technology is only one of the possibilities in other activities of children – kids always should have something to do, various sports, hobbies, etc. – there is no need to lay down specific rules for the use of technology for children. Technology can also serve as a reward in the meaning it is something “rare”, but it does not have a “something for something” rule. Sometimes parents combine explicit and implicit rules and use them depending on the context and current needs. For example, these parents do not need to make explicit rules about time spent on technology unless they see a reason and the child shows signs of “addiction”.

If the children’s time spent with technology seems to parents within reasonable limits, they do not have to make rules to regulate it. Thus, parents do not need to control and create rules if their child’s interest in technology seems normal. The tendency to create the rules sometimes results from how the use of technology is perceived by the child. Parents tend to control more children’s use of the technology when they find the use of technology by children threatening to be addictive, or inappropriate.

Although the rules of use of technology are not explicitly formulated, children are aware of implicit principles. Even in families without explicit rules, parents state children perceive and use “automatically introduced” principles, for example, when children want to turn on technology, they ask parents if they can. 

In some situations, the rules may be perceived by parents as a problem. Because after all, if you set the rules for your children, you have to follow the rules yourself, to be a role model for your children. Therefore, if you do not plan to follow the rules, then you should not create these rules for your children.

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