Too much screen time is a problem that every family faces nowadays. Whether we like it or not, life revolves around computers and television much more than it ever did when we were children.
Not only does it mean that they are exposed to things that we would have previously have sheilded them from but excess screen time is hugely damaging for children. It is proven to limit imagination, and effect their personalities, mood and confidence.
So, what can you do to limit screentime and ensure your children are not exposed to things not suitable for them?
If you look around there is various suppliers and customised systems on the market which helps you limit what your children can access and how long they can be on a device.
Microsoft have a system whereby you can set up and limit your family’s screen habits: https://account.microsoft.com/family/about
You can set it up so you get daily or weekly activity reports that let you check in on kids’ online activity and, if you need to, you can block specific apps, games, or websites.
Then there are customized home WiFi systems, such as Luma that puts the control back in the parent’s hands. Luma has parental controls that let you set only G rated sites and allows you to see any new sites your kids are going on within the app. It also has the ability to turn off connection for specific devices which is perfect for homework time!
You can even create your own personalised checklist which allows the children to ‘earn’ screen time by doing certain chores around the house. Take a look at mine!
Finally, here are some tips to manage screen-time effectively in your home:
- Have a rule around location of screen-time.
- I’m talking about computers here. Don’t allow your children free access to computers wherever they want in the house. Have a rule that computers/ devices must be used in full view of adults so you can check what sites they are visiting and keep an eye on material they are viewing to ensure it is appropriate for their age. Do NOT allow computers or devices in the bedroom where they can squirrel them away without you realising.
- Limit time they are allowed on a device.
- Stick with a daily limit and communicate that daily limit to your children so they understand how much time they have got on their computer/ device and don’t frivel it away.
- e.g. we allow 30mins/day during the school week and 1 hour/day at the weekend
- Also, have strict rules around when they are allowed to be on devices. My guys are not allowed on to a computer before 7.30am and not after 6.00pm.
- Ensure they ‘earn’ their computer time.
- Don’t just allow them onto the computer whenever they what – make sure they ‘earn’ it in some way. This could be by doing ‘jobs’ first eg in the morning it could be getting themselves ready for school, packing their bags, making their beds and cleaning their teeth. In the morning it could be that they cannot have screen-time until they have completed their homework.
For more information or tips, Nigel Latta did a recent look at the importance of being Netsafe in the home in one of his recent Hard Stuff episodes. Or click on the links for Luma or Microsoft above.