Mr Kemp NZ

Finding the Right Balance: Screen Time

Today’s blog is a guest post from Claire Adams. Claire is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. You can find her online writing and giving tips about lifestyle and development as a regular contributor at highstylife.com. You can find her on twitter here.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/search/photos/screen-children?photo=tQPgM1k6EbQ

Modern-day living is ruled by technology, which presents parents with certain challenges. With smartphones, tablets, computers, and TVs being more accessible than ever, parents have an important role in helping their children, digital natives, acquire healthy habits and find the right balance between their screen time and the joys of childhood and life in general.

Set the limits early on

Considering the fact that children have access to technology from a very early age, it’s of the utmost importance that parents limit their children’s screen time as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to change the already established habits. By addressing the issue while they’re still young, you’ll be able to help them acquire healthy habits.

When it comes to children younger than 18 months, you should minimise the use of screen media because they can be harmful to their eyes. The only form of screen time they should be exposed to is video-chatting with their grandparents and family members because this promotes face-to-face interaction.

Children aged two to five shouldn’t spend more than an hour watching a TV program. As they grow older, you may extend their screen time, but it’s essential that you establish consistent limits and avoid screen-media at least an hour before bedtime. Furthermore, you need to prioritize age-appropriate, educational and interactive content that will help your children develop their cognitive abilities and different skills. It has been shown that children who are exposed to violence in media may exhibit tendencies towards aggressive behavior.

Emphasise the value of education

Children who spend too much time on their phones and computers may experience difficulties with focus and attention, which can impede their learning process and success at school and lead to both parent and child dissatisfaction. It’s not uncommon for children not to do their homework because they want to watch their favorite TV show or to find studying boring because they’ve got used to being constantly entertained by cartoons and video games. Thus, it’s essential that parents emphasize the value and importance of education by taking an interest in their child’s success at school or being involved in school activities.

Should you notice that your child has any difficulties with a particular subject at school, but every time they need to work on that, they resort to the Internet, you should act immediately. Helping them face the problem and find an appropriate solution is essential. However, if you don’t have enough knowledge in that particular area, you can provide them with support. By finding someone to help your child with the subject matter, such as a private tutor or a great tuition center, you can make sure that their learning needs will be met. It’s essential that you provide your child with adequate support and help in order to prevent them from developing inappropriate habits. Otherwise, every time your child comes across an obstacle, they will resort to screen-media as a way to avoid facing the problem.

Be involved

While highly educational programs may improve your child’s cognitive development, your involvement as a mediator and interpreter is essential. Without your help, your child won’t be able to apply what they have learned to real life. Therefore, after watching a certain program, you need to discuss it with your child and motivate them to ask questions because only then will they be able to really understand it. Furthermore, simply being present during your children’s screen time is vital because they can easily change the channel and, before you know it, they’ll be watching an extremely inappropriate scene from Game of Thrones.

Be mindful of your own habits

Asking your child not to use their phone while having a dinner isn’t quite fair if you’re holding your own smartphone right next to your plate. You need to be a good role model if you wish your child to adopt healthy habits. Thus, you need to be careful about how you use your screen time, especially around your children. You should all turn off your phones while having dinner and spend quality, screen-free time together. Having a movie night with your children can be fun, but make sure that it’s age-appropriate, educational and that you have a chat about it afterward. You can even create a family media plan that will determine how, when, and where you can use screen media.

We, as parents, have an important duty to help our children develop in the best possible way and prevent them from wandering off into the virtual world.

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Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Head of Educational Technology at a large International School in Singapore. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

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1 CommentLeave a comment

  • Some essential advice for parents these days. I am about to enter parenthood and have been considering the questions posed in this article. In particular I love the idea that parents must be role models. I will need to be conscious of my own device use! As a teacher I have experienced first hand students who use internet as a distraction from difficult tasks. A great read!

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