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Your kids shouldn’t have to compete with technology for attention (WATCH)

Your kids are little for only a very short time. What will you remember most about their childhood? Spending time with them or updating Facebook when they needed your attention? With summer here, parents need to focus on family time, enjoying their kids being off school and celebrating the warm weather rather than on what their friends are uploading on social media.

I’m just as guilty as the next parent of being distracted by work emails and Facebook updates and what’s trending on Twitter. It’s all too easy to focus on our screens rather than on what’s going on in the world around us. But sadly, our lives, stress levels and our kids are all suffering from our need to be connected 24/7, which is why this PSA from Common Sense Media will really make you think.
Kids look to you when trying to learn how to find a healthy balance with technology. I am always sad when I see entire families out to dinner and every member is busy on their cellphones and iPads. That’s not how memories are created. Common Sense Media has some excellent tips to help parents be good role models for kids when it comes to technology:

5 Ways to find a healthy balance of media and technology

Be a role model. When kids are around, set an example by using media the way you want them to use it. Keep mobile devices away from the dinner table, turn the TV off when it’s not being watched, and use a DVR to record shows to watch later.

Start good habits early. The secret to healthy media use is to establish time limits and stick to them. Start when your kids are young by setting screen limits that work for your family’s needs and schedule. And don’t just talk the talk — walk the walk!

Use media together. Whenever you can, watch, play, and listen with your kids. Ask them what they think of the content. Share your values, and help kids relate what they learn in the media to events and other activities in which they’re involved. With older kids, you can draw them out by sharing stuff from your Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Keep distractions to a minimum. You probably tell your kids to turn their phones off during homework time. Get rid of the stuff that distracts you, too. Hide your apps so they don’t display, set your phone to “do not disturb,” or shut down your devices during important family time.

Turn off work. Many parents feel they need to be constantly accessible to their jobs. But that’s stressful, frustrating, and not realistic. Set boundaries for work time and family time.

You can view the rest of the #RealTime PSAs on YouTube and join in the conversation on Twitter using the Hashtag #Realtime.

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