Top tips for limiting your child’s screen time

Known as digital natives, young people today love using and learning about technology. It helps them stay informed with the wider world, speak with friends and play games. This is all crucial for their learning and development, but spending too much time on laptops, smartphones and tablets can have a negative effect too. It can increase the risk of childhood obesity, disrupt their sleeping patterns and encourage unruly behaviour.

If you think that your child is spending too much time on their devices and would like to limit their screen time, check out our top tips to help you approach this topic.

  1. Set a good example. Children will model their own behaviour on that of their parents so it’s important to set a good example with your own device use. If you try to limit the amount of time you are glued to a screen, they will too.
  2. Make It a Family Effort. Get the whole family to unplug together and create screen-free zones of the house, such as bedrooms or the dinner table. This will encourage kids to talk more and not be absorbed in a device all the time.
  3. Be the Parent. As the parent, you must stand up and make unpopular decisions. This can often cause a conflict, but this can be overcome through explaining your reasons and helping them to fill their time with other activities.
  4. Set Limited Viewing Times. Agree on an appropriate amount of time they can spend on their device each day and stick to this. Routine will help them to get used to only being on their device for a dedicated amount of time each day. These limits could well help adult members of the family too.
  5. Technology can help. If needed, all devices will offer parental controls. You will be able to set specific times for use as well as password controls. This means that children will not be able to access the device outside of these hours or without the password. This can especially help when it comes to completing homework. There are other options, too. For example, certain apps will encourage children to keep to certain usage limits in return for unlocking new features. For instance, the Forest app lets kids grow a beautiful forest in return for keeping their phone use within the set limit.

Experts agree that there’s no set time that a child should be using a device as it’s completely subjective. Using a laptop, smartphone or tablet can be an important part of a child’s education and social development but limiting their screen time can also encourage greater engagement with family and the world around them. Moderation of use will ensure a healthy balance.

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