Most modern-day parents share a similar goal — teaching their children not to be dependent on electronic devices. Most parents want their kids to engage in creative crafts, play outdoors, and practice useful skills like reading books rather than spending their days inside in front of screens.
Limiting Screen Time With Electronic Devices Important
A study published in JAMA Pediatrics in 2019 claims that excessive screen use can change the way children’s brains develop. According to the study, kids with more screen time exhibited lower white matter tract structural integrity in parts of the brain that are responsible for language and literacy skills. Author of Cyber-Smarts: Raising Children in a Digital Age, postulated that electronic devices stole attention and time from growth-promoting activities.
Start as Early as Possible
If kids start using screens in infancy, it’s more likely that they’ll continue to use them more often as they grow. Interventions to limit screen time are more likely to work the earlier they’re introduced. Experts say there should be no screen time until the age of 18 months, one hour per day of quality programming for ages between two to five, and consistent time limits for screen use for ages six and older.
Create a Screen-Time Policy
When kids get older, they will start asking parents for their own devices and claiming that all their friends have phones, tablets, and computers. The internet can be extremely useful for acquiring information for kids’ studies and most parents want their children to have a phone on them so that they’re always reachable. Banning electronics isn’t a good option but having an open conversation about the dangers of screen addiction and putting rules and limitations in place is the best solution.
Lead by Example
Parents can undermine their efforts by enforcing screen time rules on children but continuing to scroll through their phones and tablets at the same time. Set your devices aside and do your best to follow the same rules you want your kids to adjust to. When you do check your phone, let them know why so that they understand the more practical and useful aspects electronics offer.
How to Support Parents of Transgender Kids in the Community
While the stigma surrounding transgender youth is slowly lifting, it still exists. Trans kids and teens need their parents and allies to listen, learn, and be the gender-affirming caregivers they need throughout their transition. If you are or know a parent who has a trans kid, being supportive is crucial. Here is how you can do that.
The best way to help a parent with a trans kid is to go to them and ask questions. Instead of making up your mind with bits and pieces of information you “heard somewhere,” go straight to the source. Share your reservations, express your concerns, and don’t be afraid to ask silly questions. Of course, not all parents will be open to discussing their transgender kid with you, but that’s why you need to ask them and build the conversation from there.
Be the Ally That Trans Kids Need
Parents of transgender kids, much like the kids themselves, need to be seen, heard, and respected. The last thing they need or want is to be questioned or belittled. These parents are already experiencing an immense amount of adversity, often even from their own family, so they need people in their corner as they’re facing criticism from others. It’s not an easy role, but it’s an essential part of helping trans youth and their parents on this transition journey.
Don’t Ask Transgender Kids to Explain Themselves
When talking to a trans person, especially a kid, don’t attempt to deliberate your reservations with them. Transgender people don’t have to justify themselves, and asking a trans kid to do it is the opposite of helping. Any reservations or concerns you might have, you need to discuss with the parent. No child should ever feel invalidated or have a loved one question their existence. Remember, you’re their friend and ally, and it’s your role to protect them from unnecessary burdens and discomfort. They already get that from society.