Screen time advice

Find support to manage children’s screen time
and help them get in control of it

 

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Getting screen time under control

Screen time can offer children opportunities to learn and develop new skills at a touch of a button but like anything, too much of it can have a negative effect on their wellbeing.

As children get older and more independent online, finding the right balance for your family can be challenging but the key is to think about it early on and set some clear boundaries around their online use.

Navigate our screen time guide to find out more about its impact on children, practical steps you can take to make it work for you and your child and resources available to support them.

Watch parents screen time experiences

Common Sense Media video showing parents sharing their experiences of screen time use
Display video transcript
Deb: My name is Deb and I have an 11-year-old boy named Ely and a 15-year-old girl named Mia.

During the week I am using devices 2 to 4 hours.

Lawrence: My name is Lawrence, I am the proud father of three children. I spend about 5 and a half to 6 hours a day on screens

Lisa: My name is Lisa, I have three children. I think I am on my devices about 6 to 8 hours a day.

Ted: Hi my name is Ted and I have a son who is ten years old and because I work from home sadly I am probably on a device between 9 and 14 hours a day

Carolyn: My name is Carolyn and I have a set of twins. My iPhone wakes me up in the morning and I typically will have it in my hand, it's almost 24/7

`{`on screen`}` What about their kids?

If there was an opportunity my kids would probably glue their iPhones to their hand.

Lisa: They believe it's one of their human rights to have one of their devices attached to them 24 hours a day.

Lawrence: She is never without it, it's always within arms reach.

Lisa: It seems like all kids want to do now is to connected all the time.

`{`on screens`}` What do kids say about their parents?

Ted: There were a couple of time when my son pointed out emphatically that I spend too much time checking my email.

Lawrence: I have been on a work call or a video conference at a time that was not appropriate because it really should have been family time.

Lisa: The children would point out that I was even more addicted to my cell phone than they were.

Carolyn: We would get on an airplane and they would actually say 'Mum when we get there we are on vacation, no iPhone'.

Deb: I find myself sitting at the computer when I have been asking my kids to be off their devices.

Lisa: They still complain quite a bit that I use it too much. I stop using it in the car.

Carolyn: They'll remind me, 'Mum no texting when you're driving' and I make sure that I release it right away.

Lawrence: I think the thing that is important though is that I talk to my kids about that, that we have a very honest dialogue about that so they can hold me accountable.

Lisa: I hope they know that it's been an effort for me because all this media is just as attractive and irresistible to me as it is for them.

`{`on scren`}` So what do we say to our kids?

Deb: what I hope my kids learn from me is that the use of devices is not overuse.

Ted: Balance, balancing its use and how he uses a device

Lawrence: To be sophisticated consumers of media

Lisa: To select high-quality content

Lawrence: That they can always come to me, they should always talk to me and that they should always feel that I am there as a real-life resource to help them process questions or concerns that they may have about what is happening in the world.

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Five top tips to help children manage screen time

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Download our quick guide to screen time to help your child find the right balance between activities on and offline.

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