Have you paused lately to look around at our technological world? From smart home devices to self-driving cars, it’s a lot to take in. And then, we have to guide our children on how to engage with all this – and talk about screen time. It’s overwhelming to hear all the different voices, from professionals to friends, telling us how our kids should use technology. Our kids are growing up in a world where digital identities are just as real as physical ones. And it’s not like there’s a well-laid out manual for helping your child navigate an ever-changing technological world.
You may be wondering, “What in the world do I do here?”
We can ask a different question, though. It’s this: “How can my family use technology without allowing technology to use us?”
As you make your plan, consider your personal situation. Based on American Academy of Pediatrics research, these general guidelines can help you navigate technology use in your home.
Screen time: the good and the bad.
Screen time isn’t wrong in and of itself. It’s all about how you use it. There are many benefits to co-viewing with younger children and using technology to promote learning and conversation.
Too much screen time can be linked to:
Lower academic performance
Benefits of screen time:
Exposure to new ideas and information
Connection to family and friends who are geographically distant
Co-viewing and co-playing with your child can promote healthy development
Digital tools can promote school readiness or enhance learning
Creating a plan as a family is powerful. Of course, you, as the parent, have to determine how much screen time your child has. But there is power in allowing them to craft how that looks and what other activities they can be involved in to ensure they exercise their physical and creative skills.
Utilize screen time limits on devices.
Most devices have parental controls for screen time usage. Use all the tools at your disposal.
Balance screen time with quality personal time.
Children need parental or caretaker engagement to develop emotionally and socially. Ensure that you’re balancing their screen time with your presence.
Avoid screens at mealtime.
Meals are a fantastic way to connect as a family. Focus the time on discussing what everyone’s day was like or asking questions to spur conversation.
Avoid screens in the bedroom.
A child’s bedroom is a great place to play and rest. At a young age, avoid allowing them to take screens into their room as much as possible.
Turn off all screens during family outings.
Screens can be distracting when the family is engaging in activities together. Turn off screens for all family members (parents included).
Unplug from screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
Our brains need time to decompress and rest. Spend this time reading together to prepare everyone for a restful night.
What this means for you.
Your child is going to use screens. It’s how they connect with the world. Do your best to help guide how they use screen time in a healthy way. Sure, you may bend or break the rules at times. You may need to give in to more screen time ‘cause you need a break or have to get something done. That’s ok. Your child will continue to develop and grow. What they need more than strict tech rules is an involved parent. Make sure they are getting outdoors and playing and creating. If you haven’t navigated screens well up to this point, that’s ok. There’s no better time to start than the present.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Untitled-14-01.png5001200Mitchell Quallshttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngMitchell Qualls2022-01-31 16:12:102022-02-01 11:20:55Your Ultimate Guide to Screen Time