With screens virtually everywhere, managing a child’s screen time can be challenging. So how should you go about managing your child’s screen time? Here’s a guide to controlling your child’s use of screens and media.
Develop screen time rules
As your child gets older, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. You’ll need to decide what’s appropriate for them and what’s not. Keep in mind that the quality of your child’s exposure is more important than the type of technology or amount of time spent.
- Research programs, games, and apps before allowing your child to view or play with them.
- Look for interactive options that engage your child.
- Use parental controls to block or filter internet content.
- Make sure your child is close by during screen time so that you can supervise their activities.
Set limits for your child’s screen time, especially if your child’s screen use hinders involvement in other activities. Here are some tips to consider:
- Prioritize unplugged, unstructured playtime.
- Create tech-free zones or times, such as during mealtime or one night a week.
- Discourage the use of media entertainment during homework.
- Set and enforce daily or weekly screen time limits and curfews, such as no exposure to devices or screens one hour before bedtime.
- Consider using apps that control the length of time a child can use a device.
- Require your children to charge their devices outside of their bedrooms at night.
- Keep screens out of your child’s bedroom.
- Limit your own screen time.
- Eliminate background TV.
Teach appropriate behavior
Social media has become a huge part of a teen’s life. Experts suggest that it’s OK for teens to partake in these worlds as long as they understand appropriate behavior. Explain what’s allowed and what’s not, such as cyberbullying, sharing personal information online, etc. Teach your child not to send or share anything online that they would not want the entire world to see for eternity. Your child is bound to make mistakes using media. Talk to your child and help them learn from them.
Set an example. Your child is watching you for cues on when it’s OK to use screens and how to use them.
Managing your child’s use of screens and media will be an ongoing challenge. But by developing household rules and reevaluating them as your child grows can help you ensure a safe experience.
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