Quick Guide to Screen Time
Gaming, watching online videos, chatting with friends on social media, all this counts as screen time. It’s fun and can be beneficial. But too much could negatively affect kids’ mental and physical wellbeing, focus, and even school grades. Chat with your kids about striking a good balance between online and offline activities.
There’s no “one size fits all” solution as every child is unique. Get to know what they do online and what they encounter, so you can understand how they use screens and even help suggest positive online experiences. You can then discuss with them how much of different types of screen time they should have and when to log off. Help kids know you understand their screen time is important, but it’s also important for them to take breaks and get enough sleep. Be positive and approach this as looking for balance with your child rather than creating restrictions.
- Involve your child to set what, when, where, and how much screen time is best for your family.
- Discuss how there are different types of screen time. From pure play, educational, to experiences that involve being physical – dance tutorials for example.
- Talk to your child about how they use their screen time and create a plan that is right for them.
Screen time can be a way to strengthen family bonds and kids’ social connections. Get involved with your child’s screen time, find games you can play together, learn a dance together online, help kids play games with cousins living far away. Online activities can often inspire offline family activities. For instance, seeing a sport they’ve never tried in person or wanting to see in real life an animal they saw online.
Put the rules you’ve discussed with your child from step 3 to paper. Include agreements on device-free zones, like meal times, family time for kids and adults, and bedrooms. Adults should follow this too. Place this somewhere the whole family can see.