A balanced use of screen can offer children key benefits to help them to learn, explore and interact with the world around them.
Get simple tips to put balance and purpose behind screen time to help young children benefit from their screen use.
By creating device free zone at meal times and around the home and making use of tools to set limits on when screens can be used, you can improve family interactions and reduce interruptions to children’s bedtime routine.
Experts recommend switching off screens at least an hour before bedtime to give young children time to wind down.
As young children take their first digital footsteps, play, watch and discover together to stay engaged in what they are doing and create spaces to talk about what they enjoy and how to stay safe.
This will help them feel more confident in coming to you if they get stuck or see something that makes them feel uncomfortable. It’s also important to stay calm and not overreact when children tell you what has gone wrong.
Together find age-appropriate apps, websites and games that will give your child a way to explore their passions, enhance their skills while building their confidence in navigating the online world.
Be sure to make use of free tech tools on the apps and devices they use to create a safer space for them to explore online.
Tools like Apple’s Screen time and Google’s Digital Wellbeing dashboard can give you an overview of what they are spending their time on which you can use as a starting point to talk about ways to improve their screen use and protect their digital wellbeing.
Children will tend to model their behaviour on you, so if you encourage them to take breaks when on screen or leave phones out of the bedroom at night, they will follow your lead.
Often a sign that a child is spending too much time on screens is when they may feel anxiety or stress if they are disconnected or separated from their phone.
Lack of sleep and exercise and no willingness to visit friends may be a sign they need to take a break from their device.
Not all screen time is created equal so it’s important to encourage children to have a healthy balance between passive screen time (i.e watching YouTube) and interactive screen time (i.e. creating content or playing games online).
There is no safe level of screen time but it doesn’t mean that all screen time is harmful. Lack of evidence has meant that experts have found it hard to recommend a cut-off for children screen time overall.
One size does not fit all when it comes to screen time – it’s more about getting it right for your families needs.
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