In this new era, children are surrounded by technology and have more access to technology than ever before. This is something that should be celebrated and harnessed but it is also something that should be monitored and used in a safe way with clear boundaries.
Let’s look at the basics:
How often should children spend using technology a day (computers, iPads, digital phones, gaming devices etc)?
Children should have no more than 1 hour in total a day, this is a maximum amount, preferably this limit would be 20-30 minutes.
What is the problem with screen time?
When children engage with such activities, they are encouraged to be sedentary, they also don’t encourage children to engage socially with others (real face-to-face interactions are so much more beneficial). Screen time also can influence brain development and sleep patterns.
What boundaries should I have in place?
Child safety blocks on all devices to ensure your child can only access age appropriate content, for example, limits on YouTube searches, Google searches and other websites.
Clear rules on befriending strangers online, about giving out personal details and stranger danger online.
A rule that screen time is only in open public areas of the house – that whatever is on the screen should be fine to show anyone in the house, if they feel it should be hidden or private, it shouldn’t be there.
How can I use screen time in a positive way?
Access educational apps and websites that help your child to explore and learn, encourage creative outlets through screen time such as story writing, film making or digital art. Set research projects and use screen time together as a family.
When should screens be used?
Every family should have a screen-time curfew, this ensures that quality family time and interactions are a priority. It is also essential so that children can have time to wind down before they go to bed at night.
And most importantly, have a clear boundary in place that means that you (the parent) have the final say on anything to do with screen time, no questions asked.