According to research, it is estimated that young people and teenagers are spending an average of 7 hours or more on phones, tablets, consoles, and PCs almost every day. This sounds like a lot, and you’d be right, particularly if large portions of that screen time are not dedicated to educational value.
You could channel some of those hours and your kid’s passion for screens into a more educational route. For example, they could spend a portion of that time learning with one of the FunTech kid coding courses.
But just how can you monitor your own child’s screen time?
How do I monitor my kid’s screen time effectively?
There are many ways in which parents can monitor and reduce the amount of time their children spend looking at computer and smartphone screens. It can take time and patience before your child gets accustomed to spending less time with them – expect several tantrums if they are younger and are particularly obsessed with their tech.
Likewise, remember to be firm but also kind, gradually implementing these methods instead of taking away their devices straight away.
1. Set a schedule of when they are allowed screen time
Creating a schedule of when children are allowed to use their tech is a great step that every parent should implement. When creating this schedule, make sure that you prioritize times for study and homework, socializing with peers, outdoor and physical activity, and bedtime.
Try and make it fun for your child by encouraging them to create it alongside you and by sticking it somewhere they can see it daily, like the fridge.
If your child needs extra encouragement to follow this schedule, think about offering them an occasional reward for successfully sticking to this routine (such as a trip to the movies, an extra hour playing on video games, or their favourite meal for dinner).
With time, this schedule should become a habit for your child and drastically reduce the time they spend on their devices.
2. Research screen time limits
Many modern-day media plans and age-appropriate gadgets now have screen time limits that can be set to reduce the number of hours children spend on them.
Always make sure that you do your research and check if this is the case with your child’s latest tech – at times, limiting their screen time can be as easy as clicking a button.
3. Create no tech areas in the house
Another method to limiting screen time is creating areas in your home that are tech-free zones for both children and adults. Not only will this help your child be more mindful, but it will also help you and your partner to limit the amount of time you spend on your phones or tablets yourselves.
In terms of where to set up these no-tech zones, the garden, living room, and dining room are probably the best.
You can also grab a small or medium-sized box and place it in a safe spot near the entry to these rooms or spaces, encouraging both older and younger children to place their gadgets inside it when entering.
Make sure that you follow these rules yourself, and that your children are aware of this. This will help them feel that these rules are fair and apply to everyone in the household, regardless of age.
4. Keep chargers away from bedrooms
As previously mentioned, good sleep is incredibly important for children. Unlike adults, who can function on as little as five to six hours of sleep a night, children require around eight to ten to be fully recharged and ready for action the next day.
They need these extra hours to grow properly and to develop into healthy and energetic adults.
Additionally, without the proper amount of sleep, children can be at greater risk of developing health conditions, both physical and mental, as they grow older.
Sadly, findings have suggested that a large percentage of youngsters are not getting the optimal amount of sleep they need per night, with mobile devices and other gadgets almost entirely contributing to this phenomenon.
As such, parents should remove any charging devices that are located in their kid’s bedrooms, and instead, charge them somewhere where they cannot use them when it is time for bed.
What are the consequences of too much screen time for children?
Although young people might not realize it, countless hours spent staring at a screen can take a toll on their bodies and minds.
For example, sleep deprivation is one of the most common side effects of too much screen time. Unfortunately, almost all digital screens emit a form of blue light which can wreak havoc on the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.
As a result, many children who spend time staring at their phones or browsing the internet just before bedtime have difficulty falling asleep.
It goes without saying how detrimental this can be if it is a regular occurrence, not only for their health but for their performance in extracurricular activities at school or in the home.
Although removing tech entirely from youngster’s lives is not the correct answer, parents need to implement strategies to keep them from spending unhealthy amounts of time behind their screens.
But not only that. It’s also worth considering how kids are spending time in front of a screen.
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