Tips on how you can control your child`s Screen time
One of the most challenging parts of Parenting is Screen Time management. I am sure you have often encountered the please and inconsolable cries from your teddy bears. And if your twinkle of eyes is a little grown-up then it’s a battlefield scene at times, that too right in the vicinity of your den. In this tug of war, you can hear all the emotional blackmailing, promises made by you, and most often your comparison with the other demand-fulfilling parents.
“Mommy, please, please this is the last time, let me finish the game, am on the winning edge”
“Dad, you promised me a new tablet on my next class promotion, all my friends have it.”
“All day you are busy at work, now at least let me have me-time. It’s my favorite series. I too need some space”
Astonishing, yeah. But nothing uncommon. Be at ease Mommy’s and Daddy’s. We acknowledge this problem and to make your lives easy today Mommypure has come up with the topic, Tips on how to control your child’s Screen Time.
When I say screen time, it could be anything from the mobile to laptop, tablet, video gaming gadgets, various app-based chats, social media websites, certain live streaming of the video contents on OTT platforms besides the cable and DTH connections. Whoa! The list is never-ending.
Stay calm and scroll down to see how to handle this matter.
- Reason it out
Whenever any new policy is introduced to control your kid’s screen time explain the possible shortcomings in a very friendly yet commanding manner. Before you set onboard to explaining your kids educate yourself on the hazards/ risks of certain sites or programs. E.g. violent video games/series/ can impact their psychological growth, affect them emotionally, and influence their social relationships as well. Child bullying and online predators are often common and disguised which their age and tender minds may not be able to recognize. Convince them about the importance of sharing any online dangers or abnormalities with you whenever they sense or witness. Give them simple and easy-to-understand examples.
- Set a timetable
There should be a daily or weekly time limit set in terms of hours. Breakfast, meals, and bedtime should be strictly free from the screens. Set a time limit on the device. Discard the use of background TV during homework/playtime or any activities. For kids below 2 years, the screen time should be strictly restricted to video chatting. Between 2-5 years, the time should never exceed 1 hr/day. As your kid grows older set the time accordingly as there is no tailor-made rule then.
- Activate Parental controls
Preview the sites or apps on your child’s device before giving them access. Block websites with inappropriate content. Some devices have parental controls that allow the filtration of such sites. Look for web history when your child is done with watching/ playing. Get involved while your kid is glued to the device. Make it a fun and team play. This will also allow you to supervise their activities and keep a tab on the unsuitable pop-ups/adds.
- Indulge in family hours and digital detoxing
Get some leisure time as a family in the form of reading, indoor games, outings, sports, recreational trips, dinners, and trekking or hiking. These activities will give your family some quality time together and improve your relationship with your child. Be a part in your child’s play, get to know his/her friends, visit their school during PTM, Sports, Annual day, etc. Get to know their pals. Keep some days completely free from electronics. It means no devices on certain days or while you are out of your den (home). That Digital Detoxing!
- Engage your kids in extracurricular activities
Find out the areas of interest in your child. It could be dance, sports, gymnastic, swimming, chess, music, etc. This will help them make new friends and socialize. This could even enhance their skills for any state or national level competitions.
- You have the right to ask for your child passwords
It is important to know the passwords of your kid’s social media/online accounts. Sexting, Personal information sharing, and Cyberbullying are common on some sites. To protect your child from becoming prey to any such culprits, access their device and identify those sites in their presence. Gain their confidence in you of protecting them but simultaneously respect their confidentiality and little independence that they deserve.
- Have screen-free areas
Keep some places of your home free from any devices like the TV screens, laptop, video gaming units. It could be your dining room, kitchen, and even the bedrooms. Have the charging points in the common areas and those where you can supervise easily.
- Practise what you preach
When the rules are drafted the first person to follow them should be you. Remember, you are the role model for your kids. If you deviate, it would result in compulsive behavior and your child may strongly oppose any of your commands/restrictions. Have a good image of yours. Ultimately this is what a child would first see in you. So model behavior that you wish to see in your child.
- Be consistent
Once the rules are set, do not deviate. Chalk it out and present it as a full and final announcement to be enforced immediately and wholly. Variations and deviations can only end up confusing and inculcate a lax approach towards its acceptance.
- Ensure good gadgets and correct mode of usage
Check for the device brightness and display. Opt for big screens. Guide your kids on the distance between their eyes and screen. Ensure the sitting areas are comfortable, especially their desk, chair, and table height. Train them on correct postures. Spine alignment is important to avoid spine strains and muscle sprains. It is common for kids to lie on their bellies and hold the screens too close to their eyes. Watch this out! It’s better to get their physical check-ups, especially the eyes to prevent/tackle the health hazards that come with technology as a gift package.
The bottom line is, “Make the best use of time (screen) and technology (gadgets)”.