How do you manage your child’s Screen time?

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How much Screen time is good for my child? Can I completely go away with it, or can I maintain a healthy balance?

With screens virtually being everywhere, controlling a child’s screen time can be challenging. Specially when screen time can be educational for children and which supports their social development.

So how do you manage your child’s screen time?

As a Pre-primary school teacher & a mother myself this question always keep coming in my mind when I see my daughter with the mobile phone or  laptop. I question myself asking..”Is the screen safe for her? How much time I should allow her? Or how can I keep her away from it”. I am sure you all parents feel the same.

We are today in a world of technology, with gadgets all around us. Also, Children have become smart & exposed to new learning daily. When I look back & think “We never got to learn so many things till higher school what children learn today”. Technology is surely a blessing but at the same time has its own challenges.
Unstructured playtime is more valuable for a young child’s developing brain than is electronic media. Children younger than age 2 are more likely to learn and remember information from a live presentation than they are from a video. E.g. Teaching with music and movement with stories. However, passive screen time should not replace reading, playing or problem-solving.

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As your child grows, keep in mind that too much or poor-quality screen time has been linked to:

a. Obesity
b. Irregular sleep schedules and shorter duration of sleep
c. Behavioral problems
d. Loss of social skills
e. Violence
f. Less time for physical activity play
g. How much is too Much?

Children today at 8-18 age spend over 7 hours a day on screen & is considered a big warning by AHA (American Hearts Association).
At preschool children of 2-5 age, should spend not more than 1 hour of high-quality interactive programming, which should be with your involvement.
By watching together, you can help your child understand what he or she is seeing and apply it in real life.

So how can I really maintain a healthy balance?

I start with Preparing Screen time rules:

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Children younger than 18 to 24 months. If you introduce digital media, make sure it is high quality and avoid solo media use. For children ages 2 to 5, limit screen time to one hour a day of high-quality programming.

To make your pre-schooler’s screen time is more productive, always be with young child during it and interact with them. That can mean playing an educational game with your child or talking to them about something you see together in an age-appropriate TV show or video.

Schedule plenty of non-screen time into your child’s day. Unstructured playtime is important for building creativity, so young children should have time to play away from screens every day. Family meals and bedtimes are also important schedules to put the screens away and interact with your child.

However when your child grows, the  same approach does not work . To decide how much media to let your child use each day, these are the below magic tricks

Apply same rules in Virtual or real environments, play with your child, teach kindness, be involved and know your child’s friends and what your child does with them.

Ensure quality screen time spent:

a. Preview programs, game`s and apps before allowing your child to view or play with them
b. Seek out interactive options that engage your child, rather than those that just require pushing and swiping or staring at the screen
c. Make sure your child close by during his/her screen time, so that you can supervise his or her activities
d. Ask your child regularly what programs, game`s and apps he or she has played with during the day
e. When watching programming with your child, discuss what you are watching and educate him or her about advertising and commercials

Educate kids about online risks:

a. There are times your kid will wander around & get exposed to content that you have not approved
b. Talk to your kids about the online risks & what you expect them to do to stay protected
c. Encourage your child to think whether everything is safe online. Is everything on the internet accurate
d. Teach your child to differentiate if the website is safe or not
e. Educate them about the technologies used to collect data & track your online activities

Setting rules for older kids:

a. Use parental controls apps to block or filter internet content based on age
b. limit charging devices in the bedroom
c. Keep devices with screens out of your child’s bedroom after bedtime, and do not allow a TV in your child’s bedroom
d. Limit your own screen time & spend time together
e. Discourage use of Media entertainment during Homework time

Maintaining healthy communication & teaching appropriate behavior online:

a. Online relationships and social media have become a major part of life. Experts suggest that it is OK for your teen to be a part of these worlds if he or she understands appropriate behavior
b. Explain what is allowed and what is not, such as cyber bullying and sharing personal information online. Teach your child not to send or share anything online that he or she would not want the entire world to see for eternity
c. No matter how smart or mature you feel your child is, monitor his or her online and social media behavior. Your child is bound to make mistakes using media. Talk to your child and help him or her learn from them
d. Also, set an example. Consider that your child is watching you for cues on when it is OK to use screens and how to use them

Screen Time Tips:

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The same parenting rules apply to screen time as to anything else — set a good example, establish limits, and talk with your child about it.

a. Be with your child & interact during Screen time. Seek out interactive options that engage your child, rather than those that just require pushing and swiping or staring at the screen
b. Find & approve Games or apps that are educational
c. Find things your child likes or is interested in
d. Tried to introduce plenty of non-screen time of entertainment where family is involved
e. Finding alternatives for online gaming like physical carom board, a box of snake & ladder/Ludo etc
f. Watch online videos/programs together so you can discuss what you are watching and educate him or her about advertising and commercials

We know by now that not all screen time is same. You & your child have to plan & set screen time rules accordingly

For e.g. you and your child playing an interactive phonics or numbers game on a tablet or watching high-quality educational programming together is good screen time. Whereas keeping the TV on all day for “background noise” or letting your pre-schooler watch your favourite shows with you are examples of bad screen time.

At the end managing your child’s use of screens time and media will be an ongoing challenge. However, by developing household rules and revisiting them as your child grows, you can help ensure a safe Screen time experience

You can also read:

Parenting In 21st Century

Written by:
Pinky Arora

19 thoughts on “How do you manage your child’s Screen time?”

  1. Young children learn best from face-to-face interactions with caring adults. It’s best to keep their screen time to a minimum.. Quite an informative blog!!

  2. Good screen time tips shared, it is true that children should be very well educated about the online risks so that they are well aware and be safe.. Very well written article 👍

  3. Very nicely written and amazing tips provided…this will enable a good growth of the child without technology being a bane.👌

  4. A very well written blog. There is no denying that the screen time for a child should be limited. Good screen time tips given by the blogger.

  5. Great blog for todays generation. It is very well said that the screen time has to be limited for children. Age appropriate screen time detailing is very well explained in the blog.Instead giving time to children, playing with them will help us to reduce their screen time challenge.

  6. In today’s world of technology, it has become a challenge for parents to avoid screen time for children.The blog helps and guide to ensure that the children should perceive quality screen time. Good and informative blog

  7. Very appropriate and well written blog. The facts stated are very true and needs to be well taken care of as screen time hazards are widely happening. The control is necessary and these tips are very helpful

  8. Excellent blog. Now a days almost all the parents face this issue of children having a lot of screen time. While having their meals too, children either watch television or are on mobile. The tips shared are excellent especially how you can tell your child about the online risks. Thanks for this awesome blog.

  9. Screen time has lots of advantage as well as disadvantage.. All the points are nicely explained. Also the above blog is so informative which one should definitely go through and also abide by the rules mentioned which will surely help. I found the tips very useful too and easy to be followed by Us in order to have a balance and manage the screen time for children. Thankyou Jumpstart for this Blog

  10. The tips shared are very helpful and easy to use.As it is a Common Problem every parent complaints about. This blog will surely help each one of us who want to know how can we overcome this problem. A must share blog.
    Thankyou Jumpstart .

  11. This is a very well written blog and talks about the problem which all the mothers are struggling with. Too much screen time and the harmful effects of it. These effects have been stated in the beginning of the blog and the tips to manage this problem effectively has also been given. Children do not understand the long lasting effect of screen time when they watch their ipads or tv or play games. For them its entertainment and limitless but as parents we can see the harm so we need to help them.

  12. Very well written.. Most of the parents would agree on this.. Screen time tips will definitely help children to overcome the same

  13. Very interesting and informative blog. As parents, we always strive to strike a balance between healthy screen time and other activities. Great tips shared in the blog.

  14. Nicely written blog and amazing tips provided…as excess of everything is bad,so we should use technology for limited period and that too for gaining knowledge,these ideas will lead to the growth of the child without technology being a ban.

  15. Well written blog..
    The effects of screen time shared are informative and tips regarding the same can be easily implemented to avoid your child getting trapped into screen time.

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