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Effect on behaviour, brain, sleep
Effect on behaviour
- Constant use of a device and features like auto-play on platforms can be habit forming and encourage children be spend longer on screen
Effect on the brain
- Screens can have a drug-like effect on the children’s brains which can make them more anxious.
- It can make children more forgetful as they rely on things like Google, GPS and calendar alerts to look up information
Effect on sleep
- Blue light from phones can trick the brain into thinking it’s still daylight making it difficult to sleep
What are the benefits?
- Gives children access to a wealth of information to build their knowledge
- Technology takes away physical barriers to social connections to make children less isolated
- Exposure to tech has proven to improve children’s learning and development
- Online games and activities enhance teamwork and creativity
10 tips to get in control with your child’s screen time
- Set a good example with your own device use
- Have discussions about the risks that they may face based on their online activities
- Put in place a family agreement and agree an appropriate length of time they can use their device
- Help them build critical thinking to understand that some features on platforms are design to keep you watching or playing
- Encourage them to switch off auto-play on platform to remove the temptation to binge on programmes
- Use tech tools and parental control to manage the time they spend online and the apps they use
- Get the whole family to unplug and create ‘screen free’ zones at home
- Together find apps, site and games that will help children explore their passions and make screen time active
- For younger children find ways to combine touch screen use with creative and active play
- Encourage children to self-regulate the time they spend online and the activity they do to ensure they are having a positive impact on their wellbeing
In addition to these tips, see advice from our expert panellist Alan Mackenzie who highlights conversation as key to managing a child’s screen time. Dr. Elizabeth Milovidov also shares the basics to help set digital boundaries to strike a good balance between life on and offline for the whole family.