The screen time rules every family needs to know
The constant, ubiquitous presence of screens in our lives is bad for our mental health.
We are constantly bombarded with images that promote greed, violence and cynicism.
While the internet has given us unprecedented access to information, it’s also fractured the way we connect with one another because human interactions or face-to-face conversations have become so limited.
Social media platforms are where people often feel compelled to present an idealised version of themselves while at the same time being subjected to negative comments from others who have nothing better to do than sit on their phones all day long.
Trolling other people’s posts so they can get some sort of weird satisfaction out of making someone else miserable by tearing them down.
As a consequence, we need to put limits on our screen time because it’s not good for our mental health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), we should be limiting our screen time to no more than two hours per day.
This includes all screens, including laptops, cell phones, TVs and tablets.
If we exceed this limit, it can have a negative impact on our sleeping patterns, mental health, physical health and social interactions.
It’s not just adults who need to be mindful of their screen time. Children are especially susceptible to the negative effects of screens because their brains are still developing.
A recent study by Common Sense Media found that American children aged 8 to 10 are spending 6.5 hours per day using screens of one kind or another, which is more than double the time recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The AAP recommends that children aged 2 to 5 limit their screen time to one hour per day, and children aged 6 to 8 should limit it to two hours per day.
These guidelines are important because excessive screen time can lead to a number of problems for children, including obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), addiction and depression.
Parents need to set clear rules for how much time screen time their children are allowed
It’s also important to monitor what children are watching on screens and talk to them about the content they’re consuming.
Screen time isn’t all bad, but we need to be mindful of how much time we’re spending in front of screens and make sure that we’re doing other things that are healthy for our emotional and mental wellbeing.
Children should be encouraged to have a variety of hobbies, interests, and activities outside of screen time
Encouraging your child/children to have interests away from their screens is important, because they’ll be less likely to feel like they need screen time to fill their free time.
For example, if your child enjoys building Lego's or drawing pictures of dinosaurs, you could encourage them to make weekly trips to the library to borrow some books on these subjects so they can learn more about what interests them and take their hobby further.
This can help them to forge a personal connection with the things that they enjoy spending time doing and lead to better mental health outcomes in the long run.
There needs to be an understanding that the only people who can take away screen time are parents or guardians
The rules about screen time shouldn’t be something that children can negotiate with their peers.
This is because the consequences of too much screen time can be serious, and it’s up to parents or guardians to make sure that their children are abiding by the rules.
If a child feels like they’re not able to meet their friends because they can’t go out and play, that’s going to have a negative impact on their mental health.
Screen time rules are important, but they need to be reasonable
It’s important to set rules that are achievable and that take into account the different needs of each child.
Some children might be able to handle more screen time than others, and some children might not be ready for any screen time at all.
Parents need to be mindful of these things when they’re setting rules for their children.
Screen time is a big part of our lives these days and it’s something that we all need to be aware of.
It’s important for parents in particular because they are responsible for making sure that their children are safe and healthy.
Just like anything else, if you use your screen time in moderation it can have a number of benefits, but too much can cause problems in the long run.
Screen-time is not just about TV shows
It also includes video games, social media, and other things that children do with their phones or computers.
Studies have shown that young children are spending more time with screens than ever before.
This is partly due to the prevalence of smartphones in our society, but also because computers are becoming more accessible to everyone.
It’s important for parents to set rules about screen time so they can protect their child/children from things that could have a negative long-term impact on their mental and physical health.
It’s also important for parents to encourage children to spend time away from screens, because they can lead to problems like addiction and depression if they aren’t used in moderation.
Parents need to make sure they're setting limits on themselves too
It's also important for parents to make sure they're not just setting limits on their children, but also themselves.
Parents today are particularly guilty of being addicted to smartphones and tablets while their children play in the same room.
This is a bad habit that needs to be broken, because it's not healthy to be distracted from your children while they're playing.
It's also not good for parents to associate their phones and other devices with work or downtime rather than connecting with their children.
Families should come up with a plan together
If you're a family that's looking to set some screen time rules, it's best to come up with a plan together.
That way, everyone knows what is expected of them. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there are no surprises.
It will also help to make sure that everyone is held accountable.
Screen time can be a positive influence on children's lives, but it's important to make sure that you're setting limits so that your child/children aren't being negatively affected.
Children and screen time: we all know it’s a hot-button topic. The rules about what is and isn’t appropriate can be hard to follow, but they are always there for your child's safety, however, they are open to both interpretation and adjustments.
As parents or guardians, you have the responsibility of making sure your children abide by these rules so their mental health doesn't suffer in the long run.
It may seem like an overwhelming task on its own, but if you come up with a plan together as a family then everyone will know what is expected of them.
Screen-time can be beneficial when used in moderation; however too much has been shown to cause problems such as addiction and depression down the line if not monitored properly.