Top tips for turning off technology tantrums this Christmas

Queensland parents are being urged to have house rules wrapped up before stuffing a tablet or smart phone in a stocking this Christmas.

A 2016 Triple P – Positive Parenting Program survey of more than 2350 Queensland mums and dads found managing screen time outranked disobedience and healthy eating as the biggest issue they were dealing with.

More than 15 per cent of parents couldn’t remember the last time they sat down to a meal with the kids without screens or other distractions.

Triple P founder Professor Matt Sanders said smart phones, tablets and gaming consoles were exciting gifts and likely to be at the top of many Christmas wish lists.

“There’s no doubt kids can benefit from using age appropriate games and software but there will be technology tantrums unless boundaries are put in place,” Prof Sanders said.

“It’s worthwhile drafting some house rules for digital devices before putting one under the tree. This will make clear what’s expected and help minimise any conflict."

The Triple P Positive Parenting Survey found:

  • 71% of kids under 16 had regular access to a tablet,
  • 48% had access to a smart phone,
  • 15% of kids under six either owned or had regular access to three or more digital devices.   

Prof Sanders said it was paramount to protect children from online predators.

“We live in an age where cyberbullying and sexting is a reality,” he said. “Parents would be wise to talk openly with their children about the importance of privacy settings and the dangers of oversharing online.”

Five top tips for avoiding a technology tug-of-war at Christmas

  1. Involve your kids and work together to draft some rules on where, when and how long the device can be used.
  2. Consider the example you set with smart technology. Do you leap from the dinner table every time your phone beeps?
  3. Do your homework and don’t assume an ‘App’ is suitable for your child just because it has a particular rating. Check the privacy settings and who else uses it.
  4. Spend time understanding what your kids enjoy doing online and get involved in their games.
  5. Talk to your kids about how privacy settings work and start age appropriate discussions about social media etiquette.

Triple P offers Queensland parents a wealth of free parenting programs and strategies under a State Government initiative. Triple P Online is available over the holidays, with more seminars and group sessions coming.