If you are concerned about how much time your child is spending on the computer then the first thing to do is to agree with your child how much time they are allowed to spend on it. Come up with time that you both agree to and stick to it. You may need to be firm about it.
Remember that many families spend their leisure times watching television and playing computer games isn’t much different from that.
Websites like Facebook have become a favourite way that children talk to their friends so they are likely to want to spend time on the computer. If your child has a Facebook page, and they are have to be at least thirteen to do so, make sure that they are aware of the privacy settings that allow only friends they know to have access their page.
When buying computer games always check that they have an appropriate age certificate for your child, as some games have ‘adult content’.
For younger children it is better to have the computer in a shared room. Then you can keep an eye on their activity. Discuss with your child what they are doing on the computer but try not to seem like you are checking up on them all the time.
If your child is already spending a great deal of time on the computer you may need to negotiate with them so that you meet half way.
Encourage them to get involved in other activities that do not involve the computer. Get them to join a local youth club or martial arts club where they will meet a new range of friends and be distracted from using the computer all the time.
At the Koushinkan Aikido Oxford martial arts club we offer martial art classes for children in three different age groups – 4 to 7, 8 to 11 and 11+. Our children’s martial arts classes encourage children to be more active and they learn how to be responsible and safe.