Whether it’s babies, teens, or any age in-between-- evidence and opinions around screen time continue to spark a lot of conversation and debate. It is little wonder that some parents feel concerned about its effects on their children. There is no denying that the digital world offers great benefits, but it is important to find a happy, healthy middle-ground.
According to Psychologist and Author Dr. Aric Sigman, “overuse of electronic media may affect school performance, academic achievement, physical and mental health, social skills and relationships.” So what quick and immediate steps can parents take? Read on to discover seven simple tips for managing your child’s screen time.
- Establish a time-limit. Dr. Sigman suggests that reducing recreational screen time to around two hours a day could significantly improve a child’s health and well-being. You can find the middle ground by allowing your child to manage how they use their two hours, whether it’s all at once or scattered throughout the day. Certain devices and gaming platforms even have timers.
- No screens in the bedroom. Keeping TVs, computers, laptops and tablets in shared areas in the home allows your child to still be engaged in a social setting. It also allow helps you better manage what type of content your child is viewing.
- Meals are for family. We all might enjoy an occasional TV dinner as a treat, but sitting together at the table is a great bonding experience. It also allows your child to escape from the digital world and engage in great conversation. Make sure TVs are off and phones are put away to get the most out of family bonding time.
- Set a bedtime for screens. According to KidsMatter.edu, late-night screen time can affect your child’s sleep. Turn off devices 1-2 hours before bedtime to allow your child's mind and body to prepare for a good night's rest.
- Exchange a screen for an audiobook. The act of listening to a story builds listening skills and helps your child concentrate and give his or her undivided attention. Your child will get the benefits and the fun of technology without having to watch a screen.
- Family movie nights. Have regular family movie nights and use them as opportunities to watch together and discuss. Be on the alert for teachable moments. Pose questions like “What do important lessons did you learn?'” This tip will prevent your child from the mindless screen time, and push them to engage and think deeply.
- Use technology to control technology. TV gives your child access to everything and it plays without pause. One show can quickly turn into two or three if you’re not paying close attention. Streaming services such as PureFlix.com not only offer categories for age-appropriate content, but also a break in between movies and episodes to serve as a reminder that it may be time to power down.
But My Child Loves Television
Limiting screen time doesn’t mean eliminating television. Digital media offers a wealth of information and has great benefits when used correctly. Movies can instill values and create memories of time snuggled together on family movie night. The trick is to ensure that time in front of the screen involves healthy, wholesome viewing to enhance your child’s life.
As a source of clean, wholesome content, PureFlix.com helps to eliminate some of the stress of pre-screening and selecting appropriate material for your family. For movies to watch together, download the free Family Movie Guide from PureFlix.com. Each movie features positive uplifting messages that teach valuable life lessons. Also in the guide - fun facts, trivia and discussion questions to ensure your child is getting the most out of their screen time. Get your free guide today!