Prevent harm from screen time

Screen time has plenty of benefits, here’s how to get the most out of it

Get tips and advice on things you can do to help your child to minimise online risks, develop a healthy relationship with technology and what steps you can take to create balance in your home.

2 quick tips to help you make the most of screen time

Have a conversation about screen time

As children mature, it’s important to check in with them about how they are doing online. Tweens and teens can struggle to balance screen time, so it’s essential to have a conversation about taking regular breaks.

Look at your relationship with screens

It’s essential to review your own relationship with screens as younger children will develop their own through this lens.

How to make the most out of screen time

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.

Top Tip light-bulb

See our guide to active apps to help children make the most of their screen time, get moving and
develop healthy habits.

Simple tools for managing screen time

Make use of parental controls

Make use of parental control tools on their devices and the platforms they use to set digital boundaries. Some controls can remotely close down apps or games, reminding your child when they have spent enough time online. Others have night settings, which slowly reduce the amount blue light given off by the screen during evenings which may help children sleep.

You can learn how to use parental controls here.

Show your children their activity logs

Make your child aware of the ‘Your Activity ‘ feature on Instagram to see how much time they spend on the app and set a time limit on how much time they’d like to spend on the app. TikTok also allows you to set screen time limits which shuts the app down after an hour. While YouTube offers a similar feature.

Switch off notifications

Ensure that you switch off notifications on their phone to limit the distraction this can cause when they are doing other activities and turn off autoplay on the platforms they use. Both of these tips help children and young people self regulate better and allows them to take an active role in reducing screen time.

Set a timer

It’s easy to lose track of time when engaging with screens and for children it’s even tricker to keep track. You can always set a timer or an alarm that reminds your child when they’ve spent too much time in front of screens and reminds them to take a break.

Create a healthy relationship with screens