Managing children's screen time
Quite a divisive, emotive subject to be honest. All families are different, and you must do what is right for yours! Below are just ideas...
Ultimately, screen time just needs to be well managed. The parents are in control, not the child. Unstructured playtime is of course more valuable for a child's developing brain than tech & as your child grows, keep in mind that too much screen time, or indeed poor-quality screen time has been linked to:
* Irregular/ shorter sleep schedules
* Behavioural problems
* Loss of social skills
* Less time for play
However, from our lessons in lockdown & beyond, we need to be realistic. Everyone is using much more technology than they have ever done so before. The world is run by the internet & its changing rapidly. Many of you had to juggle your jobs with home schooling and for many children, the internet really was (and perhaps still is) the only way to connect with their peers.
Using screens does have huge educational value for homework and research; playing games can improve motor skills and coordination; internet tools, texting, and shared games are an easy way to socialize and communicate.
But what if it becomes too much? The RCPCH have published a list of questions families can ask to assess whether screen use is affecting their children negatively.
The questions are:
❓Is your family's screen time under control?
❓Does screen use interfere with what your family want to do?
❓Does screen use interfere with sleep?
❓Are you able to control snacking during screen time?
If you feel like screen time is having a negative effect then you can try the following:
✨ Agree on & set boundaries that suit your family.
✨ Prioritise sleep, remove devices from bedrooms and limit their use before bedtime.
✨ Use tech, apps, tools or other software packages to monitor or set time limits.
✨ Remember you’re in charge and you can negotiate/set the rules with your child.
✨ Don’t beat yourself up. Remember that not all screen time is created equal. Computers, tablets, and smartphones are multipurpose devices that can be used for lots of purposes- passive or interactive consumption, communication and content creation.