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Connecting home and school

How to manage your screen time usage

February 21st, 2023 by Lauren

With the school half term now over, there is every chance your children’s eyes will be strained by the amount of screen time consumed. Reflecting on Safer Internet Day on 7th February, it is essential to discuss the topic of screen time and the implications of being glued to your devices.

In a world where televisions, phones, computers, and iPads are widespread in most households, how much “screen time” your children should be exposed to is always a worry for parents.

So, what is the accepted guidance? According to the World Health Organization, children between the ages of 3 and 4 should only passively watch screens for one hour a day, preferably less. If you have younger children, those under the age of two, they should not watch screens full stop.

Managing this daily may be challenging! Finding the appropriate balance for your family as your children get older and more independent online can be difficult. Still, the key is to think about it early on and establish some clear limits around their online use. Also, it’s crucial to remember that a one-size-fits-all strategy doesn’t work as effectively as your child develops. You’ll need to decide what is suitable and how much screen time your kids should have each day.

Screen time becomes an integral part of their day as older kids begin to use the internet for research for their schoolwork. Some screen time can be helpful and a great learning tool. Certain children’s television networks, like CBeebies, may also aid in basic reading and numeracy development and begin to teach kids valuable life skills. Among the best advice for controlling young children’s screen time is:

  • Before letting your child watch or engage with a program, game, or app, preview it first. Have your youngster watch, play, or utilise them alongside you!
  • Instead of interactive alternatives that only require your child to press and swipe or stare at the computer, look for interactive options that interest them.
  • To restrict or filter internet material, use parental controls.
  • During screen time, make sure your youngster is nearby so you can monitor their behaviour.
  • Ask your child frequently what applications, games, and programs they use during the day.
  • Talk about what you’re viewing and teach your youngster about advertisements and ads as you watch television together.

If you have older children, the following is valuable advice:

  • Prioritise unplugged, unstructured playtime.
  • Establish times or areas when technology is prohibited, such as during meals or limiting it to once a week.
  • Encourage using media for enjoyment and, as a reward, away from your work.
  • Establish and enforce daily or weekly screen time restrictions, such as forbidding the use of electronics or screens one hour before bed.
  • Apps that limit the time a youngster may use a smartphone should be considered.
  • Insist that your kids recharge their smartphones away from their bedrooms at night to limit temptation.
  • Do not allow screens in your child’s bedroom.
  • Ensuring your own personal screen time is limited to set a good example.
  • Take away background TV to minimise distraction.

We’d love to hear your opinions on screen time – please let us know in the comments below!