Online safety expert Alan Mackenzie shares his insight on screen time management following workshops with children to see what they say about the issue.
There is a lot of media attention on screen time; just before typing this article I was reading new World Health Organization guidelines, suggesting no ‘sedentary’ screen time for babies, and limits of one hour per day for 2-4-year-olds. Sadly, these guidelines are at odds with good academic research, but it’s a subjective argument to which I doubt there will ever be a one-size-fits-all solution.
In February I worked with 16 classes of Year 6 children to have some open and engaging conversations around screen time. I wanted to understand their thoughts, how screen time is regulated at home, and what they thought about rules that were put in place.
This wasn’t to get children to rise up and start arguing with their parents about their screen time but to give the children the information to have a good, open conversation with their parents.
In all of the lessons there were common themes from a majority of the children which I have paraphrased for clarity:
When I’m delivering parents sessions in schools, I sometimes sound like a broken record, repeating how important it is to have open and honest conversations with the children about their online activities. But as you can see from the few examples above, they’ve got a lot to say.
Have a conversation at home with your children. Explore screen time and screen use with your child, ask them for their concerns or frustrations so that you can talk about it together.
See more resources and articles to support children online: