In the age of iPads, tablets, smartphones, and Macbooks, keeping your kids away from screens seems to be an impossible feat. Professionals have recommended children under the age of 5 spend an hour a day devoted to a screen, but it sounds a lot better on paper than it does in action.
Can we end the epidemic of screen-time addiction and obsession with the internet and the instant gratification it provides? These 6 tricks can help you get your kids to cut back on screen-time and resume their lives as healthy, active children again.
Take One For The Team and Start Cutting Back
Honestly, it’s no surprise we’re seeing more and more kids become addicted to screens, and it’s spreading down into the toddler ages. The average adult spends over 10 hours on a screen in America, and kids are our biggest copycats. When they see us enjoying the easy access to screens and getting sucked into the vortex of virtual reality, it sets up an example for them to follow.
Introduce Firm and Understandable Rules
The younger the child, the easier it is to create a habit, or end a bad one. Most preschoolers won’t know what they’re missing if you turn the screens off more, but when they reach 5 and up, they start to develop that dependence on screens that’s causing many problems we see in society today. No matter if you’re starting young or a little late, make sure your kids know the new rules and don’t let them bend or break them.
Allow Yourself To Look At The Clock
In most situations, watching the clock makes time go slower and creates more problems than it creates. Setting limits for your kids and establishing firm timeframes for them to use a screen is a great start, but to enforce these rules, you have to be on top of the tick-tock.
It’s Okay To Make It a Bribe
Since your kids are going to be using screens no matter one somehow or another, make it a motivational tactic to encourage activity in their other areas of life. Completing the chores for the day can be rewarded with their hour of screen time, whereas having a bad attitude or breaking a different rule could result in losing computer privileges.
Knock Out Two Birds With One Stone
Some families struggle to find time to all spend together, so make electronic games and movies part of your activities as a group! Not only are you making the time spent with a screen more productive by encouraging conversation and bonding, but you’re staying active and involved in your child’s time spent online. Doing so can help prevent bad situations from happening without your realization.
Create a Designated Space
There isn’t much reason for your kids to have screens in their rooms, so don’t even start introducing them in your kid’s private areas. Instead, keep your electronics located in accessible spaces, like a family room or a computer office. This will make monitoring their time and activity much easier and establish healthy habits.
The Bottom Line
By acting as soon as possible, you’ll have an easier time getting a handle on the screen dependency problem that countless families face. Screen addictions in kids lead to other problems down the line and can affect their cognitive skill development. Implementing these practices can bring the risk to your child down significantly without creating the next World War in your own home!
About The Author
This post was written by Jenny Silverstone, the chief editor and writer of Mom Loves Best, a research-driven parenting blog that aims to educate parents on essential topics such as children safety, health, and development.
Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Course:
Effects of Digital Media on Children’s Development and Learning is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews the research on media use and offers guidance for educators and parents to regulate their children’s use of digital devices.
Today’s world is filled with smartphones used by people ignoring their surroundings and even texting while driving, which is criminally dangerous. Are there other dangers that may not be as apparent? Media technology (e.g., smart phones, tablets, or laptop computers) have changed the world. Babies and children are affected and research reveals that 46% of children under age one, and up to 59% of eight-year-old children are exposed to cell phones. In England, nearly 80% of senior primary-school staff reportedly are worried about poor social skills or speech problems of children entering school, which they attribute to the use of media devices.
Media technology affects family life, children’s readiness for entering school or preschool, and classroom learning. Recent research delineates a developmental progression of understanding information on devices for children between ages 2- 5 years. Younger children may believe false information if it is on a computer. This research is important for understanding technology uses in education. There are also known health risks and possible adverse effects to social-emotional development. Statistics describing the increase of media technology and developing trends in media use are presented along with guidelines and position statements developed to protect children from risks and adverse effects. Course #30-96 | 2017 | 50 pages | 20 posttest questions
Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!
Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).
Target Audience: Psychologists, Counselors, Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapist (MFTs), Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), Occupational Therapists (OTs), Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs), School Psychologists, and Teachers