The 5 Most Important Tech Habits to Teach Children

When it comes to children, we’re always guiding them to develop healthy life skills. Technology is no exception. 

Teaching healthy tech usage to children is easier said than done. For many parents, their kids have a more intuitive understanding of devices than they do. In fact, 40% of parents are learning about technology from their children! If this is the case, how can parents and educators teach children about healthy tech usage?

These are the 5 key ways to start helping your child develop a healthy relationship with technology now. 

1. Make a habit talking about technology experiences.

The most important thing you can do is start the conversation early. Seventy per cent of children between the age of 7 and 18 accidentally find online pornography while doing homework. If your child feels comfortable talking about all that is on the internet, the harmful and the not-harmful, they’ll feel comfortable talking to you if they stumble on something upsetting.

2. Guide them towards online safety habits.

Between 2006 and 2007, there were 464 reported incidents of child luring online in Canada. Many believe predators use tricks and false information. However, they’re generally honest with their intentions and prey on children who need sympathy, affection, and kindness in their lives. Unfortunately, I frequently see many cases of young people starting relationships online that may not meet the criteria of child luring but are very unhealthy..By developing the habit of discussing internet safety with your children, having parental controls, and  and fulfilling their emotional needs, you create a safe space for your children to tell you how their online relationships are developing.  

3. Create a habit of digital empathy and kindness.

Cyberbullying is a serious concern with the expansion of social media and private messaging platforms. Of Canadian students between grades 4 and 11, 37% of them report being bullied online. Bullying can lead to numerous health issues including headaches, stomach problems, depression, and anxiety in those who experience it.

Healthy online behaviour means being empathic and recognizing that you need to treat others the way you want to be treated. If you wouldn’t appreciate the same comment made about you, don’t say it online. Speak to your children about being kindness, healthy conflict resolution, communication skills, and cyberbullying. Explain what cyberbullying it looks like, how they can report it, and tell a parent or guardian if they see it happening or experience it themselves.

4. Focus on screen-quality, not screen-time habits.

Don’t get into the trap of just counting time and not quality of screen use.In my book, The Tech Solution, Ii suggest using the idea of a tech diet to understand what our technology experiences are being metabolized to and how that impacts us. 

Avoid Toxic Tech: Cortisol releasing tech leading to stress like addictive tech (gaming disorder), FOMO, comparisons, perfectionism, multitasking, cyberbullying, poor posture, sleep deprivation.

Limit & Monitor Junk Tech: Dopamine releasing tech like mindless gaming & social media. Watch for addiction!Consume Healthy Tech: “P.O.D” based tech that releases Endorphins through downtime and self-care, Oxytocin through meaningful connection with others, & Serotonin through play & creativity.

5. Stay educated.

Technology is always changing. Parents, guardians, and educators must stay up to date on new apps and risks associated with technology. 

What can you do right now to help children develop healthy relationships with technology?

Now’s a perfect time to get your child involved in healthy uses of technology. With the COVID-19 pandemic still at the forefront of global news, children need ways to engage with their peers and form healthy bonds. Technology can have a dramatically positive impact on children when used healthily. 

Pick up your copy of Dr. Shimi Kang’s new book, The Tech Solution: Creating Health Habits for Kids Growing Up in a Digital World, today or sign up for our new online course The Tech Solution Reset. Learn more about our relationship with technology and the difference between healthy and unhealthy tech usage for children and families.

How Gratitude Journaling Can Help Children Feel Happier

We’ve talked before about the importance of gratitude when it comes to helping children with their emotional wellness. Expressing gratitude teaches all of us to concentrate on the positive and, as a result, feel happier and more fulfilled. And it’s so important to teach these life skills to our children as early in life as we can.

One great way to express gratitude is through gratitude journaling.

Why Your Children Should Start Gratitude Journaling

Journaling allows your child to express gratitude by remembering and being thankful for the people and things in their lives. This practice is proven to strengthen relationships, encourage kindness, and help your child maintain a positive outlook on life.

Journaling gives your child an outlet for their thoughts and feelings. And as a bonus, it helps them practice their academic skills such as writing, sentence structure, and spelling.

How to Help Your Child Start a Gratitude Journal

Get Your Supplies. Let your child pick out a special notebook and pen they can use for their gratitude journal. You could even simply find a plain notebook at a discount store and let your child decorate the cover.

Be a Role Model. Talk to your child about gratitude. Tell them what you’re grateful for and why. You should even get your own journal and practice gratitude journaling yourself.

And when you’re out and about with your child, take time to point out acts of kindness and fascinating things you see and feel. A smile from a stranger, a rainbow, someone holding the door open for you, the smell after fresh rain — these are things which should be noted.

Give Some Prompts. There are no real rules for gratitude journaling. Give your child some freedom to choose what works best for them. Some people like to write long sentences and really delve into what they’re grateful for. Others simply prefer to jot down one or a few words per line to summarize.

However, if your child needs a place to start, you may want to give them a prompt or two. You can use the same one every day or mix them up. Some examples of prompts include:

  • I’m thankful for…
  • Today was awesome because…
  • I’m so happy I have…
  • These people make me smile…
  • Thank you for…

Make It a Habit. At first, it might be challenging to practice journaling every day. But, it’s important to do it regularly — even if that only means once a week or so. Set aside some time for you and your child, or the whole family, to journal together.

Even 10 minutes at a time is often enough to journal. And you may just see your child want to write in it at random times as well — every time something makes them smile.

Don’t Stress About It. As we said above, there are no real rules when it comes to gratitude journaling. While you may want to aim to think of five things a day, sometimes, you may only be able to come up with three — and that’s ok!

If you miss a day, don’t worry. You can get back to it when you can. This is supposed to make you happy — not stressed!

Contact Dolphin Kids™ For More Great Information

At Dolphin Kids™, we love seeing the positive changes which occur in kids after they start learning how to express gratitude.

We offer a variety of programs and summer camps which provide even more skills to help your child cultivate self-empowerment and to give them essential life skills they need for the future.