With the development of technology, children are accompanied by various electronic products. However, a lot of studies have shown that excessive use of the screen will affect the development of children in all aspects. For example, obesity, lack of concentration, social disturbance, lack of sleep, emotional anxiety, etc. Parents often complain that their children stay on the phone all day long, believing that electronic products hinder their children’s development. In this digital age, life is inseparable from these electronic devices. Internet and social media could help increasing children’s interest in reading and learning. How should parents manage this problem? What is the appropriate screen time for children? How to prevent children from indulging in electronic products? Today, we will discuss all these questions!
- What is the appropriate screen time for children？
According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Children, kidult under 18 months of age should not use any screen, and as the children get older, the screen time can be increased appropriately. The following is a reference table of screen time for preschoolers.
|Under 18 months||–|
|18-24 months||accompanied by parents 30 minutes/day|
|2-5 years old||1 hour / day|
|after 6 years old||2 hours / day|
- How to Manage Children’s Screen Time Effectively?
1. Set a good example with your own device use
You are the best teacher to your children. They will tend to model their behaviors on you, so if you start reading books or newspapers, they may follow your lead, or cultivate other interests.
2. Schedule “screen-free” mealtimes
Family mealtimes are important opportunities to connect with each other, and for kids to learn mealtime etiquette and practice conversational skills. For adults too, mealtime is an important time to switch off digital distractions. So, you might decide to enjoy a screen-free dinner with family.
3. Indoor or outdoor activities
Lack of entertainment is one of the reasons why children stick to digital devices. Therefore, parents should provide a variety of games, such as storybooks, musical instruments or sports, etc. In addition, you should enjoy the game with them, explore the fun of various activities, and organize outdoor activities.
4. Set a share space
It is suggested to divide an area to place the electronic products, like television, phone, or ipad, etc. Then you can easily grasp the time and content of children browsing. You can also suggest them some learning games and educational websites.
5. Agree an appropriate length of time that they can use the devices
Put in place a family agreement to set some boundaries and do not break them. For example, screen time is only from 7pm – 8pm, or only after finishing homework. Treat it seriously!!
6. Discuss together about the time they spend online
Parents should accompany their children when they were watching television programme or using digital devices. You can try to understand what they are doing and explain your concerns. You should response actively when children have questions during the process.
7. Electronic products belong to you
Children will cry when they cannot get what they want and ask for satisfaction. Before providing the devices, parents should inform that children are not the owners. They should ask for consent every time and return within the specified time.
The right amount of screen time is an indispensable part. Shrewd parents should design methods to avoid becoming “head-downers” in response to family conditions and children’s personality. In this way, we can also use electronic resources to improve children’s learning and growth.