5 Tricks for Keeping Track of Tech Usage In Your Home
Technology is a two-edged sword. While it makes life easier, it can also be a major cause of concern. Case in point, Americans already spent an average of 10 hours and 39 minutes devouring tech each day. And that was before the coronavirus cooped everyone up in their homes.
This screen time isn’t just referring to smartphones, either. It can also come through anything from tablets to video games, computers, and television screens. If you’re concerned about the amount of tech that is present in your home, don’t worry. Here are a few tricks to help you keep things under control.
1. Choose the Right Devices
The first step in tracking tech usage is to actually understand what tech is in your house. This starts by taking the time to vet any requests that you get from your kids.
Don’t buy the latest gaming console without doing a little research first. When your kid asks for their own phone, get them a kid’s phone that naturally reduces screen time. If a child’s tablet breaks, consider how important it is rather than replacing it without thinking.
The same goes for any adults in the home. Do you really need the latest smartphone? Are you thinking about getting a bigger television when you already spend countless hours binging streaming content?
If you want to limit your tech, start by filtering what devices you will allow in your home.
2. Limit Internet and Screen Time
Even when each device has a purpose, you can still use it too much. You only need one Xbox to stay up all night playing games. An addictive app can keep you sitting, poking at your phone’s screen for hours on end. An entire family can crowd around a single 32-inch television set.
If you’re concerned about tech usage, consider limiting access to two other important things along with your home’s devices: internet and screen time.
When it comes to managing screen time, there are many apps and phones that offer screen time limits. These can be set to block off a tablet, phone, or other devices if they’re used too much within a single period of time.
When it comes to the internet, it’s already recommended by many to turn off your router on a nightly basis. The long-term effects of EMF exposure are still unknown.
Setting up a repeating timer or unplugging your router each night are considered safe ways to control potential side effects. The added bonus? It also can aid in reducing your family’s total tech time.
3. Install Activity Tracking Apps
Multiple suggestions on this list address reducing tech usage. However, if all you want to do is keep tabs on it, consider installing a parental control app on your devices. This is helpful if you have multiple kids using multiple gadgets throughout your home at different times of the day. If this is the case, trying to keep track of everything or everyone can be impossible.
Instead, look for an app that allows you to monitor and track screen time. This is useful even if you aren’t currently dealing with screen time issues or a child that won’t follow the rules.
It’s still a great idea to monitor your family’s screen time when things are going well. This allows you to gather data and start to get a feel for how much time you’re spending using all of your tech.
4. Schedule Unplugging Times
There are multiple options to track and control your family’s tech usage. However, nothing can beat the sweet and simple solution of leaving the tech behind at times.
Unplugging is a popular concept. It has grown in popularity as tech has taken a front seat in everyone’s lives. Once again, it addresses that two-edged sword issue. Tech can help us increase productivity and awareness. It can eliminate menial tasks. It can enhance communication. However, at the end of the day, if you end up addicted to your tech, all you’ve done is swapped one issue out for another.
Unplugging isn’t just a good idea for you, either. It should take precedence throughout your household. You can do this in a couple of different ways.
For example, you can set up an unplugging quota for your family. This could be everyone unplugging for at least an hour at some point during the day. It could also be a certain number of hours per person each week.
The other option is to schedule family-focused unplugging times. This could be spending time together right after dinner or on Saturday morning. You can use this time to talk, play games, and bond. The absence of screens ensures fewer distractions, which can be a boon to your interpersonal relationships.
5. Educate Your Children
There are many tools and strategies that can help you track tech usage. However, if you look for a solution with an autocratic attitude, you may end up doing more harm than good. Don’t force your kids to turn off the television or cut teenagers off from talking to friends on their phones without an explanation.
Instead, take the time to sit down together and discuss the issue. Bring up statistics. Conduct research that helps everyone understand your concern. Then try to set goals together as a team.
Consider how you can track and reduce your screen time as a family unit. This isn’t just good for short-term tech usage. It also teaches your kids how to take screen time and technological addiction seriously.
From kid phones to unplugging and everything in between, there are many ways to keep track of tech usage. The critical factor is trying to track your usage in the first place. Only then can you decide if you or your loved ones are abusing your devices in an unhealthy manner. The good news is, even if this is the case, it isn’t difficult to take steps to correct the issue.