Just like any parent today will tell you, I have a hard time limiting the amount of screen time my children have each week. As a mother to two young children, I’m trying to fine that all-important line of raising my children with technology (because let’s face it, they are going to need it in their futures), to limiting their use, especially when it comes to their downtime and the content they watch.
To be completely honest with you, it’s not easy. I can give my 7-year-old a 20-minute time limit but if I don’t sit next to her and monitor what she does, she can sit there and have her face in front of a screen for hours. We’ve managed to put restrictions on their computers (by only giving them internet access during certain hours and windows of the day), but that hasn’t stopped them from constantly asking and/or begging us to let them play with their favorite apps. As tempting as it is to have a little quiet time for myself, I know that the iPad is not a good babysitter for them.
I recently came across these great tips on how we as parents can help monitor and control our children’s computer and tablet usage. Again, it might not always be easy (because raising children sure is not!) but if it takes us in the right direction, I’m all for it.
Check our these screen time guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and let us know what you think.
- Be the parent and be a role model. “The same parenting rules apply to your children’s real and virtual environments. Play with them. Set limits; kids need and expect them. Be involved. Also, limit your own media use, and model online etiquette. Attentive parenting requires face time away from screens.”
- We learn from each other. “Neuroscience research shows that very young children learn best via two-way communication. Talk time between caregiver and child is critical for language development. Passive video presentations do not lead to language learning in infants and young toddlers.”
- Content matters. “The quality of content is more important than the platform or time spent with media. Prioritize how your child spends his time rather than just setting a timer.”
- Be engaged when your kids are using technology. “Family participation with media facilitates social interactions and learning. For infants and toddlers, co-viewing is essential.”
- It’s OK for your teen to be online. “Online relationships are integral to adolescent development. Social media can support identity formation. Teach your teen appropriate behaviors that apply in both the real and online worlds. Ask teens to demonstrate what they are doing online to help you understand both content and context.”