Screen Time: Advice for Parents
Are you concerned about how much time your child spends on their phone/tablet/computer? We’ve put together a guide for parents on advice and talking points with your child on screen time.
How Much is Too Much?
Unfortunately – there is no magic number, children use their devices and computers for lots of different reasons – to learn, to play, and to socialise. The most important thing is to set clear boundaries on screen time and set a good example.
‘Screen time’ is an obsolete concept. As digital media become integrated into all aspects of daily life, it is more important to think about what your child is doing online and who they are doing it with than to consider arbitrary rules about time.
1. Agree a clear set of rules with your child on screen time in the home. Talk to your child on when you think it is appropriate and inappropriate to use screens. Agree times when screens are allowed and not allowed in the home. For example dinner time, homework time and bedtime.
2. Do as you say. Modelling behaviour is THE most powerful way you can influence your child’s behaviour.
3. Restrict the use of computers/devices in the bedroom. Depending on the age of your child you may want to set a curfew or ban devices from the bedroom completely.
4. Buy an alarm clock for your child’s bedroom and charge their phones in your room at night time. This can be a helpful way of giving them a break from the internet.
5. Pick one evening a week where you do a family activity together, whether it’s movie night, games night. Doing activities together as a family will help implement screen time guidelines and offer fun alternatives.
6. Join in, why not set some time aside to play your child’s favourite computer game and discover the online world together.
7. Try not to rely on screens too much to keep the kids amused. It can be easy to encourage kids to pick up the tablet or play a game on the computer to keep them occupied. This only confuses rules on screen time, try and stick to the agreed rules with your child and remember to set a good example.
8. Don’t have screens always on in the background.Turn off TVs and Computers when not in use, these can be distracting for kids if they are trying to participate in another activity.
9. Chat to your child about what they do online and encourage them to use their screen time for learning and education.