March 2021 | Focus: Screen Time
Electronics: Creating Balance .
During the pandemic era, technology has become ever present in our children's world. For many kids, screen time is the primary way they "attend" school and socialize. With a touch of a button, the kids are off to class or video-chatting with friends and relatives. Lets face it, technology has helped us navigate many of the challenges we've faced over the past year. However, too much technology, can lead to isolation and unhealthy habits of body and mind.
Consider these ways to keep your family's screen time usage in check:
Set the stage: Encourage face-to-face interactions by putting away devices (including yours) at established times, such as during meals, family outings, or at a sibling’s softball game. When you’re using a device and your child interrupts, switch your attention to your child. Your child will see that the person is more important than what is on the screen.
Wait for social media: Most social media sites require users to be 13 or older, yet children are using fake birthdates to create accounts. Let your child(ren) know they must be old enough and get your okay to join. Consider setting up a family account, but keep the password to yourself. Your child can send you photos or links to post. If you chose to allow your child(ren) to have their own account(s), make sure you monitor his/her posts and discuss safe and appropriate content. Social media is a leading contributor of increased screen time for tweens and teens.
Harness the good: Suggest your children take advantage of technology to connect with family or to collaborate with friends on something fun. They might play an electronic version of a board game with a cousin in another town. Or if they're stumped on a crafting project, they could look up an instructional video online. With the warmer months right around the corner, let your children use the internet to research for spring extracurricular activities or summer programs.
Screen time and children: How to guide your child
With screens virtually everywhere, controlling a child's screen time can be challenging. To complicate matters, some screen time can be educational for children as well as support their social development. So how do you manage your child's screen time? The Mayo Clinic's primer, Screen time and children: How to guide your child, provides great advice on how to set limits on your child's use of screens and media.
What do we really know about kids and screens?
In her article , What do we really know about kids and screens?, Stephanie Pappas discusses the research that psychologists are providing to help us a better understand the risks and potential benefits of children’s and teen's use of digital devices. This American Psychologist Association feature article provides candid overview of children growing up in a digital world.
At Your Wits' End With A Screen-Obsessed Kid? Read This
NPR Life Kit authors, Anya Kamenetz and Chloee Weiner, offer some practical advice in their article, At Your Wits' End With A Screen-Obsessed Kid? Read This. The focus on how little changes to technology use make a big difference.