For so many families today in the digital age this question has become a topic of debate leading to battles over the uses of digital devices and screen time allowances. Without adult guidance or rules set in place, most children and teenagers would spend most of their waking hours glued to a smart phone or gaming device. Whether they are texting group chats, scrolling through social media sites, watching endless videos or enveloped in the latest game the result is the same.
So how much screen time should I allow my child?
The truth is, trying to understand what a healthy amount of screen time is, is not an easy pursuit and cannot be answered by anyone other than yourself. There is of course expert advice and studies that you can read to gain information from but in the end it comes down to your individual situations. Every family is different and should first spend time to weigh up the pros and cons of modern day technology in their child’s circumstances. To help us make this decision, a senior school in London has provided us with some helpful advice below.
What is right for us?
The following guidance will help you decide on what time limits and boundaries you would like to set for your children to help support and protect their digital wellbeing.
Establish boundaries and stick to them
Whilst most agree that there are a lot of benefits of digital devices it is vital to ensure there are limits. Rules such as no screen time after 9pm, no devices at the dinner table or no more than 2 hours per evening are popular amongst families we have spoken to.
Use parental controls
Ensure you know which websites they are using and the types of content they are seeing by setting up parental controls in the settings.
Make it beneficial
There are some benefits to screen time such as research for school projects, online educational games and access to potentially enriching websites which support art and other creative pastimes.
Speak to your children
Discuss how technology makes them feel to make sure they are not becoming addicted to it or experiencing any kind of cyber bullying. It is important that your children know who they can turn to for support when needed.
Speak to the school
Stay informed about the latest trends or anything that you should be looking out for. Air any concerns and get advice from the teachers and other parents of children the same age.
The digital era is not something to be fear as long as you are prepared with the knowledge you need to keep your children protected.