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Middle Years April 2018

Electronics: Creating a balance

Technology lets middle graders do research with the touch of a button or video-chat with relatives who live far away. Too much technology, however, might cause your tween to feel isolated and to sit still much longer than is good for her. Consider these ways to keep her usage in check.

Set the stage
Encourage face-to-face interaction by putting away devices (including yours) at established times, such as during meals, family outings, or a sibling’s lacrosse game. When you’re using a device and your child interrupts, switch your attention to her. She’ll see that the person in front of you is more important than what’s on the screen.

Expecting my best
Encourage your child to decide what he expects from himself. Where does he want to improve? He might focus on pay- ing attention to detail if he lost points last year by not filling out science lab reports thoroughly. Or maybe he’ll create a plan for spreading out long-term projects so he’s not scrambling at the last minute. He’ll gain satisfaction from a job well done when he follows through.

Wait for social media
Most social media sites require users to be 13 or older, yet some children are using fake birth dates to create accounts. Let your middle schooler know she must be old enough and get your okay to join. Consider setting up a family account, but keep the password to yourself. She can send you photos or links to post.

Harness the good
Suggest that your tween take advantage of technology to connect with family members or to do research. She might play an electronic version of a board game with a cousin in another town. Or if she’s stumped on a craft project, she could look up instructions online. Also, let her use the internet to research extracurricular activities or summer programs.

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