The countdown is on for the Easter school holidays! In a perfect world, school holidays mean plenty of “analogue” activities like playing outside, fun day trips, playing with friends and family. But in reality, especially as we head into the cooler winter months, this often means a spike in time spent online with devices.
Screen time can be a prime source of stress for parents, especially during the school holidays. The top 3 parental worries we see at Broadband Compare are:
The good news is that there are simple steps that you can take today to protect your family online and avoid screen-time stress. Plus, we have recommended some top broadband plans for Kiwi families, so you can upgrade today. Don’t spend another school holiday suffering with a poor broadband connection.
Check out our top tips for protecting children online
These top broadband plans offer ISP family filter services, along with high-speed fibre broadband plans with unlimited data.
Sign up on a 12-month contract and pay only $62.95/month! Also, bundle your broadband and power and get 10% bundle discount on both services. Get $5/mth off for each active mobile plan you bundle with...
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Family filter / BYO Router
No more dead spots! Sign up for Megatel’s latest broadband deal and get a 3 set Premium Deco WiFi Extender for free (RRP $399) for fast and seamless internet! Plus, protect your devices from any of th...
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Family filter / Static IP / Router
WiFi In Every Corner Promotion is perfect for you if you want a strong and a stress-free WiFi solution for your home. You sign up for 24 months contract to receive a router that is best suited for your needs.
Option 1) You can receive a Premium WiFi Deco 3pk if you join Megatel fibre broadband service. This option is recommended if you have more than 4 bedrooms and/or your floor area is between 300~500m2.
Option 2) You can receive 1 month free broadband and a Premium Wifi Deco 2pk if you join Megatel fibre broadband service. This option is recommended if you have 3~4 bedrooms and/or your floor area is between 200~300m2.
Option 3) You can receive 2 months free broadband and a standard modem if you join Megatel DSL or Fibre broadband service. This option is best if your house has less than 3 bedrooms and/or your floor area is 100~200m2.
Option 4) You can receive a standard modem and a Premium Wifi Deco 2pk if you join Megatel DSL broadband service. This option is recommended for DSL users who has 3~4 bedrooms and/or your floor area is 200~300 m2.
Stuff Fibre’s SafeZone puts you in control of your family’s internet use. SafeZone is simple to use with nothing to install. You can turn filters on and off from anywhere and it protects every device connected to your home network. Filter out adult content, social media or anything undesirable should you need to. Plus it’s usually included free in Stuff Fibre’s broadband plans.
Orcon’s Family Filter is a non-intrusive first line of defence that protects any devices connected to your home Wifi. It protects your family against R16+ sites; dating, drugs, gambling; alcohol and tobacco sites; known hacked or infected sites; sites about hacking and illegal activity; and suicide or self-harm site. It is usually included free in the first 12 months for new broadband customers, then for $5 per month.
Slingshot’s Family Filter protects your family against 16+ sites, pornography, and nudity; known hacked or infected websites; dating, drugs, gambling, alcohol, tobacco sites; websites about hacking, dark web, and other illegal activity; and suicide and self-harm sites. It is usually included free in the first 12 months for new broadband customers, then for $5 per month.
Megatel’s premium mesh Wifi extender features robust parental controls to block inappropriate content and restrict time spent online. The Wifi extender is perfect for a large family. It provides a fast and seamless connection so you can work and play from anywhere within your home. You no longer have to experience weak signals and dead zones as the signal can reach from the basement to the rooftop.
Choose a broadband provider with family filtering services. Spend some time before the holidays begin to make sure you understand how your service works and that it is set up correctly.
Have a family discussion with your children / teens and agree on realistic and achievable limits around screen time. Make a plan that establishes firm rules about how much time your child can spend with screens, and where, when, what and with whom they can use screen time.
Knowing what your child is doing online can make a big difference – are they spending their time on leisure or learning? Is it age appropriate? Are they active or passive? There are plenty of fun apps that can help children learn or develop important skills like hand-eye coordination, literacy skills, relationship skills and more. Common Sense Media review apps, games, website and movies to help parents decide what is appropriate for their children.
One of the main battles parents can have with kids online is “just one more show”, or “I just need to reach the next level”. The feeling that they are never ‘done’ or ‘complete’ can cause ongoing disagreements. You may find it easier not to have prescribed time (eg: 1 hour) and rather have precise quantities or cut-off points. For example, “you can watch two episodes of your favourite show”, or “You can play four Fortnite battles”.
Give kids plenty of warning before their screen-time will end. These simple spoken reminders allow kids to prepare themselves for the end of screen-time and hopefully prevent a dreaded tech-tantrum.
Ideally, kids should only use devices in public areas of the house like the living room or dining room. Have clear rules about where it is ok to use screens and technology and make bedrooms, bathrooms and play areas tech-free.
One of the easiest ways to limit screen time during the school holidays is to plan tech-free activities each day. Try to plan plenty of opportunities to spend time outside with friends, engaging in physical activity, and outside in nature. We are lucky in New Zealand to have plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor spaces, library holiday programmes and community programmes. Plan bush walks, trips to the beach, museum visits, interesting crafts or projects.