In the 21st century, I think we can all agree that technology is advancing and humans are surrounded by mobiles and digital devices daily. As we become so much more dependent on these digital devices day by day, we tend to delegate them the important task of guiding and educating our young children. As a result, this has led our kids to be obsessed with the digital platform and become reliant on it for entertainment, information, social connection, etc. However, it is important for parents to have a system for monitoring their child’s electronic usage.
The World Health Organization recommends that it is best for infants and 1-year-olds to avoid watching TV, videos, or playing computer games. For children over 2 years of age, sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour because less is better. Although there isn’t a specific solution that works for all families, there are several ways parents can have better control over this. Here are a few:
- Let them earn screen time. Instead of just handing over gadgets to your kids, make them work for it. A better approach is to make your children do chores to earn their screen time. For younger children, ask them to clean up their room and put their toys away. For teens, make them take out the garbage, wash the dishes, or vacuum the living room. This teaches them that nothing is free in this life.
- Set usage limits. Set usage rules that dictate when your kids can use screens. This can include certain days of the week and also hours. You can allow some flexibility and decide what works best for your family. • To make this easier, you can consider keeping laptops, tablets, and smartphones in a central location, like the family room. This cuts down on the temptation to use them in other parts of the house, like the dinner table or in bedrooms.
- Encourage your child to use screen time for a good purpose. Instead of simply playing video games and entertaining videos, challenge your child to use the bulk of their screen time to follow their passions and interests. By leveraging the ability of technology to educate, you feed your child’s intellectual curiosity and passions.
- Keep your options open. In addition to having screens available for your kids, you should also introduce them to printed material. For example, newspapers, magazines, books, board games, etc. These items may not interest them, but they need to know that knowledge and information take lots of forms, not just electronic. This also makes them less dependent on technology.
We all know the saying: “too much of anything is bad for you” so the same can be applied with screen-time.