What counts as screen time?

Screen time is the amount of time spent using a device with a screen such as a smartphone, computer, television, or video game console. Studies show that screen time directly impacts child development, mental and physical health. The positive or negative health effects of screen time are influenced by levels and content of exposure.

There’s one goal most parents have at the beginning of their parenthood- to ensure a childhood that isn’t dependent on screens — one where kids play outdoors, do creative craft activities, and read books for fun in their downtime.
But then the fact is, the youngsters plead that all their friends watch TV, tablets, and adults have errands to do, dinners to make resulting in relaxation of screen-time restrictions.

What can be done to reduce screen-time?

Healthy Practices
Parents need to be role models of screen use for their kids. Always remember that you are setting an example for your kids with your own time spent in front of a screen.
For example: Keeping the TV on for background noise all the time or scrolling through your phone any time may not be the conduct you hope to see in your children.

Children imitate everything, from your personality to your habits. For making them a wonderful person, the parents have to work upon their own version of an Enhanced Personality.

Have knowledge about Electronics
Gen-X kids are tech-savvy. Most of them know more about electronics than adults do. Parents need to stay up-to-date on the latest apps, games, and social media platforms.
For example, you can’t teach your child about the risks of social media unless you understand the dangers yourself.
Similarly, you wouldn’t be able to prevent children from consuming certain types of media (notorious game: Blue Whale) if you don’t understand how these forms of media are rated.

Mark “Gadget-Free Areas”
Define areas in your house where electronic gadgets are not permitted—whether it’s cell phones, handheld video games, or laptops.
For example: Keep home’s dining room, kitchen free from screen gadgets. Reserve them for having meals and family conversations.

Make Your Child’s Bedroom Screen-Free particularly at night
It is not possible to monitor your child’s screen use if they are able to use devices out of your sight. Thus, you can make it a rule that TVs, video game systems, and computers are not allowed in your child’s bedroom. They might be tempted to use devices late at night and which could hinder their sleep.

Mark “Gadget-free time”
Set time for your whole family to free themselves from their technological devices.
For example, an hour before bedtime and an hour after waking up are two examples. When everyone set-asides their devices, it gives the family the opportunity to spend quality time together.
Another way can be to have a family digital detox by planning a weekend vacation free of gadgets and devices every quarter.

Learn and utilize Parental Control settings
Most routers, web browsers, and TVs have parental controls that you can set up to filter or block unwanted content. Educate yourself about these tools to protect your kids from accessing explicit content on the Internet and on TV
For example, there are built-in settings or apps in smartphones that allow creating content filters, block specific websites, keywords, and web searches. The parents can judiciously make use of such things in the child’s smartphones. Don’t impose, rather explain
If your children are explained that you’re cutting down your family’s screen time because too much time spent on screen has negative implications, they’re going to follow the rules you set.
For example, discuss with them the dangers of online hackers. Based on what’s appropriate for your child’s age, explain why violent video games, TV shows, and movies can be harmful.
Explain how YouTube queues up a new video the minute the one you’re watching finishes. No child likes to be engineered, and often when they learn how phones are scheming their behavior, they think twice about how they spend their time online. Ensure that every member of your family is involved in the discussion about screen time and in creating a set of rules that everyone has to follow.

Ask for Your Child’s Passwords
Children don’t always have the understanding necessary to handle online communications and can become prey to cyber-bullying. You should consider asking your kids for the passwords to their online and social media accounts.
This needs to be discussed in the family and you as a parent have to figure out the best way to help protect your child while still allowing them to have some confidentiality and independence.

Be Involved in Their Lives

For many parents, it is just comfortable to turn on the television than to actually be involved in the lives of their children. But those special life elements are required for successful parenting. So, observe, listen, ask, and parent.

Involve in Other Activities
With an array of apps, games, devices, and content, it’s obvious for children to become dependent on gadgets for entertainment. Encourage your child to pursue and participate in activities that don’t need a screen.
For example: Playing outside, reading a book, doing some art n craft activity, playing a board game are a few ideas.
If each one (adults also) follows a restrained approach towards the usage to screen devices, it becomes easier for the child to emulate.
Keeping a two-way communication with your children, defining rules clarify your expectations, and can prevent disagreements. Rules should be subject to discussion as children get older, so assess, modify what’s working and what’s not.

Finally, parents who want to limit screen time for their offspring have a better chance of success if they start early. Adolescents need to have more of a hand in coining a family screen-time policy if they’re going to follow it.
Some kids use screen time in a creative way by exploring new hobbies or interests, by making movies, writing songs, connecting with relatives, and faraway friends.
While unlimited time with electronics may keep brood busy, you don’t want them to have too much screen time. That being said, setting limits on TV and video games for kids isn’t always easy in today’s screen-filled world and especially so in this Covid-19 era.
The parents and caregivers have to keep on inventing and formulating new ways and methods to tackle this issue so that it does not harm the Gen-X kids who have much more exposure to the tech-world than we ever did.

Remember! every small step in the right direction makes a difference!


Interesting reads: