How to prevent dependence on tablet PCs?

Martine Bernier

Health journalist, editor-in-chief

August 2, 2021

Tablets are great tools … as long as they are used properly. The first difficulty for parents is to prevent their children from becoming addicted, which can happen at an early age.

When used for too long, tablets can cause physical problems for users (back pain, stiff neck, itchy and burning eyes, headaches…). In children, excessive use can also lead to attention deficits, behavioral changes or concentration difficulties due to motivational problems. For this reason, measures are necessary to prevent dependence from developing …

In Switzerland, particularly in the German-speaking part of the country, digital technology has made its way into schools, where it is greeted with enthusiasm by some who see it as a fun teaching method and frowned upon by others who are not in favor of the proliferation of screens in the classroom. While teachers need to train themselves to deal with and implement this new way of working, the situation at home is quite different: Here, parents must learn to prevent their children’s dependence on digital applications.

Tools to restrict access

Of course, there are tools like Net Addict Soft that can be used to restrict the tablet or smartphone’s usage time. But even without these special applications, you can adjust the usage to your child’s age by setting the device’s parental controls. If you don’t want your child to access the device without your permission, you just need to activate a code to unlock the screen.

“And remember that it is always easier for a child to understand things,
if there are clear and firm rules that are explained to him.”

You can also set a downtime for your iPad during which only the apps of your choice can be accessed. By default, this downtime determines the period during which your child has access to the iPad. Similarly, in the settings, you can limit the playtime by app category, restrict access by allowing apps based on age group, or select the apps that are always available, even during downtime. You can set the allowed content depending on the age of the young user. And to prevent him from installing a game without your permission, set your device to require a password for each in-app purchase.

A controlled use is possible!

Despite all these simple solutions, parenting behavior is required, without which your child will not understand why you are restricting access to this tablet that he is fascinated by. Explain to him the rules and the reasons why you impose them. Suggest other activities for him to continue expanding his horizons, such as sports, reading, drawing or playing a board game. Set a good example and participate yourself.

And don’t forget that it’s always easier for a child to understand things if there are clear and firm rules that are explained to him. Whether it’s accessing the TV or the tablet, for example, allow him to watch a cartoon or use his favorite app for a limited time after a nap or after school, but never in the morning, during dinner or before bedtime. Children’s creativity does not develop on a tablet computer, and the important learning processes need to take place in the real world, not the virtual world.

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