Technology Never Sleeps: Managing Our Many Devices
As our children approach the end of the school year, the idea of days by the pool, vacations at the beach, and backyard barbeques fill our heads about summer vacation. What about when it’s too hot to play outside? Have you thought of your summer screen time strategy?
Without the school day to capture a majority of their day, children and teens want to be on their phones, tablets, e-readers, and game systems, which can provide endless hours of fun and learning. When combined with the other screens in the home like the television, you are likely wondering how to manage the many devices in your home.
Late last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 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’s Media Plan tool 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!
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.