While screen time is a neutral term, neither positive nor negative, online activities aren’t created equally. Here are a few pointers to help you understand if your child’s is helping their development:
- Ask yourself – is this activity helping my child achieve a goal, improve their development in a certain area, promote their sense of self, or build-up skills that will help them make smart choices as they grow?
- Look at where they’re using their devices – they should be out and in family areas, not in bedrooms where they can impact sleep
- Model the behaviour that you’d like to see in them – children tend to do what you do, not necessarily what you say
- For younger children, it’s important to talk about the online issues they may face as soon as they start using the internet. Using stories, apps or videos aimed at kids can be a great way to spark the conversation.
- As children get older, it’s important to continually check in with them about what they are doing online. Older teens tend to feel that they have the balance of right when it comes to screen time but having a conversation about the physical effects of screen time may help them to self-regulate their screen time better to get the best out of it.
As well as this make sure that you take the time to unplug from tech as a family to encourage them to have a balanced view of using tech. Apps like Forest which build beautiful forests the longer you stay off devices can be useful.
You can also find apps, site, and games together, with a focus on giving your child the space to explore their passions, enhance their skills and discover their identity in a safe way.