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Jan 25, 2017

Parents

How Much Time is Too Much Time? 5 Screen Time Strategies for Parents and Teachers

The holidays sure did fly by! Newly unboxed phones, tablets, e-readers, and game systems provide endless hours of fun and learning for children and teens. As can be expected, kids want to spend as much time as possible interacting with their new device. With these new devices combined with the already existing screens in the home, you may be asking yourself, “how much screen time is too much screen time?”

Late last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has changed their stance on recommended screen time, which used to tell parents to limit their child’s screen time to less than 2 hours per day – all screen time! But with the increase of technology within schools and the growing popularity of educational gaming, AAP has now differentiated between entertainment and educational programming.

American Academy of Pediatrics has a Media Plan tool which helps you to determine how much screen time your child should have, based on their age. The tool shows the recommended hours of sleep, and allows you to add your child’s typical schedule, including how much time is spent on daily activities such as family time, meals, and school. The time remaining is how much time your child has left for screen time each day.

We also have a chapter in our book, Parenting in the Digital Age called “How much screen time is too much screen time,” which dives deeper into the results of research on screen time, so you can make a decision that’s right for your family. In this chapter, we also highlight the warning signs to watch for if you think your child is addicted to their device, and share strategies on how to start meaningful conversations with your children so they can start building good screen time habits today!

Using these tools as guidelines, you can make set time limits and be firm on them. These tips will help build good habits, self-control and independent responsibility:

5 Strategies for Screen Time

  1. Set an alarm to let you and your child know when screen time is over.
  2. Change the wifi password (or turn off wifi access) when it’s not a designated screen time so your child is unable access to online applications and connections.
  3. Put away devices when it’s not a designated screen time to remove temptation for your child to be on her device.
  4. Model screen time behavior you’d like to see in your child by putting away your phone or computer when your child isn’t supposed to be on his.
  5. Make areas of your home screen free. The AAP recommends that bedrooms, meal time, and parent-child playtime be screen free for children and parents.

Ultimately, the choice of how much screen time is the right amount is up to each individual family. The most important thing to remember is that you children have enough time for adequate sleep, physical activity, and social interaction with family, along with their connections in online spaces.

Want to dive deeper into topics such as “Technology Never Sleeps” – strategies for effectively managing distractions, and finding balance, with multiple devices at home – in our series of online courses, Parenting in the Digital Age, designed specifically for parents. Learn more here.

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