Today we have a treat for you readers: a guest post from Jenny Silverstone, the chief editor and author of Mom Loves Best, a research-driven parenting blog that aims to educate parents on essential topics such as children safety, health, and development.
Take it away, Jenny!
Do you worry about the amount of screen time your children get each day?
You are not alone. According to a recent report by Common Sense Media, 66% of parents are concerned about the amount of time their children spend on devices. Surprisingly, 50% of teens agree with them.
While technology can open many doors of information and be used for great good, there are also many risks involved. In a society equally obsessed and reliant on technology, how can parents regulate screen time for kids?
How Much Screen Time Should My Kids Get?
Exposure to media and technology is an inevitably for all children, whether at home or in school. In fact, it is important for your children to be able to understand and utilize the tools available to them.
However, the dangers of smartphones, computers, televisions, and movies, come when they are overused. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has set forth recommended guidelines for how much screen time your child should have each day:
- Children under 18 months: Screen time is not recommended for children under 18 months. Babies are unable to gain anything from media, though the AAP says video chatting is fine.
- Children 18 to 24 months: You may begin introducing media to your child in limited amounts.
- Children 2 to 5 years: Limit to one hour of supervised screen time a day. Choose positive and educational programming. The AAP discovered this screen time is useful most often when parents watch with the children and explain what they are seeing.
- Children 6 & older: At the age of six, the AAP suggests parents begin determining how much media is appropriate for their child, setting guidelines and making sure media usage does not interfere with your child’s physical, emotional, or mental well-being. Two hours a day has been generally suggested.
It is important parents not only focus on how much screen time their children get, but also on the quality of media they consume. Parents should watch and discuss media with their children, teaching them how to apply what they see to their everyday life.
There are a number of risks associated with excessive screen time for kids:
- In young children, screen time has shown to negatively impact learning development. Because they are focused on the screen, they miss opportunities to interact with parents and participate in creative play, two essential activities for learning language, problem-solving, and behavioral skills.
- Children of all ages have experienced impaired sleep schedules with excessive screen time, having difficulty falling and staying asleep.
- Screen time of any sort is a risk factor for childhood obesity, with children consuming over 150 extra calories on average per hour of television watched.
- The bright lights of screens can cause vision problems, headaches, and irritability.
Communication and interpersonal skills are inhibited.
- The longer the exposure to a technological screen, the higher the risk.
The best way to cut down on screen time for your children is to join with them. Making a goal as a family will help everyone remain diligent and accountable. Here are five tips to reduce the amount of screen time you are exposed to:
- Designate “no-screen” areas of your home. The best place to start is the dinner table.
- Have a plug-in station at night in a public area. All cell-phones are plugged in to be charged overnight, but not available to use.
- Try unplugging an hour before bed if you can.
- Use this website, sponsored by the AAP, to create a Personalized Family Media Plan. You can also calculate how much time your family spends on a screen.
- Avoid placing televisions and computers in bedrooms.
- Find a loud timer to keep track of how much screen time your children get. In the hustle and bustle of life, it is easy to lose track of time. You can also use special routers to make setting time restrictions easy.
Thanks for joining us today, Jenny!
At Clean Router, we understand how difficult it can be to slow your family down and keep them safe from the negative side effects of technology. That is why we strive to provide you with a simple tool to monitor all of the media in your home.
Let us help you manage your screen time for kids!