Limiting Screen Time For Children

Preschool Girl playing on the swings at school

We live in an era where we just can’t seem to live without our smartphones and tablets. With this in mind, questions related as to whether we need to limit the screen time that our children have are being raised. The clear benefits of reducing screen time are that it helps children to become more physically active and it also helps to reduce behavioural and developmental issues such as ADHD. It is also been stated that children who watch television for more than an hour each day are at a greater risk of developing obesity. Additionally, screen time around bedtime can affect sleep and therefore have a negative effect when it comes to performance at school.

We will take an in-depth look at other reasons why you should limit screen time for children and how you can go about doing this.

The Purpose of Screen Time

We are addicted to technology so it is difficult to control and reduce our children’s addiction to their screens. Screen time provides entertainment, education, a distraction as well as a ‘child-minder’ for our children. It is clear to see that there are benefits to screen time, but there are also some negatives, which leads us to think about how much screen time our children should actually have. In actual fact screen time needs to be limited to less than two hours a day and for children who are aged between two and five years, it is recommended that no more than one hour day. There are also concerns related to the actual blue light that is given off from the screen itself and the negative impact this has on both children and adults alike. For this reason it is worth breaking up allocated screen time into small chunks.

 Limiting Screen Time

It is worth creating a media plan, which states:

  • When screen time is allowed
  • Where screen time is allowed (avoid use in bedrooms)
  • How much screen time is allowed
  • Any rules related to downloading new apps/games
  • The use of screen time at dinner time, bedtime etc.

How to Implement the Reduction of Screen Time

Consider the below to help limit screen time for your children:

  • Make sure that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to screen time.
  • Make sure that you are not being a hypocrite and using a screen whilst asking your children not to do so.
  • Avoid screen an hour before bedtime.
  • Screen time is okay in the morning whilst you are preparing breakfast.
  • Avoid screen use in the car, unless you are going on long journey.
  • Avoid screen time during breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • On the weekend you could be more relaxed when it comes to screen time.
  • When screen time is allowed, make sure it’s not taking place instead of homework or physical exercise.
  • Don’t feel that it is wrong to take away screen time when your child is not doing what that they should be.
  • Don’t feel that it’s wrong to take an interest in what your child likes to do on their smartphone/tablet. This is a way of showing your child that you are interested in them and not the game/app that they’re playing/watching.