By: Sylvia Anderson
Whether you're setting times that your kids have to be home from the park, or making a curfew for your now-dating teenager, it's all about making that deadline.
The world is changing, however.
Kids don't have to be at the skateboard park or on a date at the movies to be exposed to what society is offering, and the dangers that come along with growing up in the real world.
And, this transition is happening all over the globe. The upcoming generation, the millennials, are constantly attached to laptops, tablets, gaming devices, and smartphones. They're emailing, texting, gaming, Facetiming, Snapchatting; some even at a very young age.
And, many parents have simply lost control of the situation. How can you be an effective parent when your kids have complete control of the digital world? Even if you set a "digital curfew," meaning all devices go to bed at a certain hour, too many parents aren't savvy enough to monitor every single way kids can get online.
Rod da Silva was one of those parents who lost control. But, fortunately, he came up with a solution: WebCurfew.com, which is a website where parents can actually turn off their kids' select digital devices.
How does it work? If your router is of a make and model that Web Curfew supports, you will be able to see all the various devices in your household. Then, you can pick and choose which devices cannot get wifi. The website offers a free service for those who don't mind manually going in and shutting those devices off, or a paid/premium service if you'd like to schedule ahead of time.
He says the far more worrisome concern is less about which sites your kids are visiting or who they're texting, and more about how much time they're spending online. He references the 10,000 Hours of Practice rule, created by author of Outliers and The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell. This rule says that to be a "world class master" at anything, you need to put in 10,000 hours of practice. That's roughly 7.5 hours/day, every day, for four years.
So, says Rod, the real concern should be, what's the cost of lost opportunity? What skills do these kids not have after losing those 10,000 hours to Call of Duty or Facebook?
Another benefit of using this type of curfew service is that you create expectations and consistency. If you're only withholding use of digital devices as a punishment, you're still not solving the bigger issue at hand. But, if your kids come to expect that at a certain hour, they can only have face-to-face time and no Facetime, everybody wins.
In the accompanying audio segment, Rod de Silva shares more about Web Curfew, why it's such a useful tool in today's digital world, and how you can use the tool to start being a better millennial parent.