Online learning is the new norm and the time spent on screens by the kids has extensively increased. Therefore, it is important for parents to keep a close watch on their child’s screen time to avoid any negative impact- both physical and mental.
How much screen time is good for your kid?
Much of the evidence provided by experts reveal that spending many hours a day looking at screens (excluding the time spent on learning or school activities) puts children at risk. Being a parent, it is important to track their children’s screen time and ensure it does not affect their daily routine, exercise/play timings, family/social interactions and sleep.
Here are a few tips to help your child manage their screen time
• Stay engaged and and balance your child’s screen time.
• It's important to keep an eye on the games, apps and devices your child uses.
• Discuss with your child and set expectations about how much time is to be spent on both online and offline activities.
• Avoid limiting online time as punishment as this approach may inflate its importance to children.
Stick to a Routine - Create a plan for the use of digital devices
• Involve your child in creating a family plan for leisure and entertainment time spent sitting in front of screens.
• Apart from setting an age-based screen time limit, the plan should include age appropriate websites and online games.
• Control of access to the internet or devices with secure daily passwords, which can be revealed once the child spends quality time with family, finishes homework and daily chores.
• A minor reduction each day or a ‘15-minutes to switch-off’ warning can help the transition to a total switch-off.
• Disciplining the child with losing online privileges for a couple of hours to days to weeks would help the child follow your screen time rules.
• Using Screen Time: Parental Control app allows parents to block games, apps or even remotely shut down a device. This particular app is for Apple products, but androids too have access to similar ones.
• Ensure that your child can handle all of the responsibility that comes along with technology.
• Educate and guide your child to use technology responsibly.
Parents should set boundaries for digital device use at home
Device-free zones and times can help manage your child’s screen time. As a family, you can implement rules like:
• Not allowing devices in the bedroom for younger children.
• Switching off all the in bedrooms after a certain time for older children.
• Switching off all screens at least one hour before bedtime.
• Every family member should switch off their devices at dinner time.
As per American Association of Paediatrics and Canadian Paediatric society, parents should keep a note of their child’s screen time on a daily basis and stick to routine with kids to ensure to safeguard their physical and emotional wellbeing.
• Here are the screen time limits as per child’s age in a normal routine.
• For kids younger than 2 years of age, screen time is not recommended.
• For kids of 2-3 years - Upto 15 minutes of educational screen time.
• For kids of 4-6 years- Upto 30 minutes of educational screen time, 15 - 20 minutes of their choice.
• For kids of 7-10 years - Upto 15 minutes of educational screen time, and 50 minutes of their choice.
• For kids of 11-13 years - Upto 1.5 hours of their choice, 30 minutes of a documentary.
• For children of 14-16 years- get your child a phone at this age as it is the perfect time for them to demonstrate responsibility.
It is suggested that parents imbibe responsibility and discipline in children, while they spend time with gadgets. This would have lasting effects on their future use of technology by understanding its importance in improving their life and not detracting from its quality.
Make sure to share these tips with other parents you know.