Managing your Child’s Screen Time
There is growing evidence that indicates that screen time (i.e. watching television, using an iPad or a smart phone etc.), is linked to obesity, low academic performance, and mental health issues in children (Jago et.al., 2016). For parents, being mindful of the amount of screen-time your child has each day and setting boundaries around its use can have a significant impact on the amount of screen time your child engages in (Bounova, Michalopoulou, Agelousis, Kourtessis, & Gourgoulis, 2018).
Based on a study by Jago et.al (2016), the following strategies can be helpful in establishing healthy boundaries around screen time:
1. Enforce clear and consistent daily time limits for screen time. The recommended amount of screen time per day for
children over the age of 5 is around 1 hour.
2. Work together with your child when making the rules around screen time.
3. Encourage your child to monitor their own viewing time.
4. Be consistent between both parents/caregivers when monitoring and giving appropriate.
5. Develop your child’s awareness around screen-time and why rules and limitations are required.
Careful monitoring of the content that your children view is extremely important. Children are naturally curious and therefore, if unsupervised, may view content that is highly inappropriate for them. Content that involves violence, sexual references, inappropriate language or other adult themes should not be viewed by children, as they do not yet have the cognitive ability to process such content. They are likely see violence and sexual content as literal, and struggle to separate it from reality.
Another significant factor in managing child and adolescent screen time is parental modelling. As a mum or dad, the choices you make around your own screen time greatly impact the choices and habits of your child. Screen time, like many activities, requires boundaries. Be mindful of your own viewing and activity, particularly the amount of time you spend using your screens. Ensure that your children are aware that they are a higher priority than whatever is on TV or your phone. It is up to parents to ensure that their children benefit from technology and are not disadvantaged by it.
Mrs Sarah Kross
Bounova, A., Michalopoulou, M., Agelousis, N., Kourtessis, T., & Gourgoulis, V. (2018). The parental role in adolescent screen related sedentary behavior.International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 30(2), 197-206. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2016-0031
Jago, R., Zahra, J., Edwards, M. J., Kesten, J. M., Solomon-Moore, E., Thompson, J. L., & Sebire, S.J. (2016). Managing the screen-viewing behaviours of children aged 5-6 years: A qualitative analysisof parental strategies. BMJ Open, 6(3) doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010355