This is part two of our series on screens and devices. Read part one here.
It isn't like being a parent isn't hard enough?! On top of all the evil vices of this world, we now have the screen to manage! Many parents have turned to limiting screen time or doing away with screens entirely. Is it really only about the amount of time spent?
Experts say taking note of these 3 advices can help your child and family maintain a healthy use of screens/devices:
"Many parents will be relieved to hear that recent research suggests that it’s not so much the length, but the nature of the screen time that matters." (1)
1. Feed your children high quality programmes instead of "digital junk". You may be limiting screen time but not ensuring that the content is age appropriate, encourages learning and provides exposure to new ideas and knowledge. Monitoring screen time also includes ensuring that your children are having healthy social connections through social media. Your child may get only 30 minutes of screen time but 30 minutes of random youtube videos = not a meaningful 30 minutes spent
2. Screen time can be TOGETHER TIME! Play that online game, Playstation, or iPad game together as a family! You can even watch TV together and discuss what you have watched. If 2 hours of screen time is a time of meaningful engagement as a family, that is time well spent! Watch a football game (or any other sport) together and you may even find your child growing an interest in the game!
3. Although experts agree that it really isn't only about the length of time spent on the screen/device, it is also agreed that there can be TOO MUCH!
"...concern over a child’s screen use is warranted when it leads to poor behaviour, loss of interest in other activities, family or social life, withdrawal, or deception." (1)
If your child is throwing a regular fit over screen time, refuses to do anything but use their devices, withdraw themselves from face to face contact and starts cooking up lies, beware!
Parents can encourage a good balance between screen and non-screen activities! The best way is to show our children by good example.
We hope we have provided some clarity on how we can manage our children and their screen time!
If you are still unsure of what is too much, check out this list.
"9 warning signs of screen media addiction" (2)
Vincent & Debra Kwan, Founders of Hiro & Jack and stay-at-home parents with the odd life.