We are living in an age of technological expansion and we’ve never been more connected than ever before. Some may think that’s a blessing for our families, giving our kids instant access to educational platforms and providing hours of entertainment for when you’ve got jobs you need to get done as a parent. Others however see the rise of screen time as a curse, fearing their children’s development will be impacted by hours staring at mobile phones or tablets.
Finding a balance with screen time is crucial, making sure you regulate not only the quantity of screen time your child is exposed to but also the quality of media they are viewing. An independent school in Surrey suggests that understanding how excessive screen time negatively impacts children can help parents establish a sensible approach. Research suggests that excessive screen time can affect a child’s physical, psychological and social development as it consumes time which could be used for positive activities such as exercise and socialising. It is important to set limits and ensure that your child is taking part in activities away from their devices.
Getting your child into a sports team or setting aside time to do arts and crafts projects is a great way to focus your child’s attention on something other than their phones or tablets, whilst benefiting their physical and social development. It may be unrealistic and unnecessary to prevent your children from using electronic devices completely, but aiming to fill the majority of their time with other activities and unstructured play is a way to decrease their exposure. Setting screen time limits is important in order to ensure your child has enough time for enriching activities and experiences. Having a ‘no phones at mealtimes’ policy or an hour of unplugged family time per day is a great place to start. Experts also suggest that screen time should be limited around bedtime to ensure that sleep quality is not negatively impacted.