Children and Screens: A Few Golden Rules
Begin by having a discussion with your child about screen time. Find out what kinds of content are most interesting to him, and search for quality content together. Talk about the responsibility that comes with using digital devices, such as using content that’s appropriate in age, but make it clear that your goal is to help your child enjoy screen time in a balanced way. Rule #1: Screens can be good!
Make it interactive!
Active screen time, such as using educational apps, is much better for kids than passive screen time, such as watching TV. Aim to find interactive content to unleash your child’s creativity and help him learn in a fun and engaging way. You don’t have to ban TV time, but make your child’s screen time as active as possible through tablets and smartphones. Maybe Pili Pop for language fun, Pokemon Go for sport?!
Set some (family) rules!
Screen time rules are important for your child…and for you! Set some clear and realistic screen time rules for the family, such as deciding that your kid may enjoy 30 minutes of tablet learning before dinner or bedtime, or that no one can use a device (including you!) during dinnertime. Use a timer if you like! Your child will appreciate the value of quality screen time and quality family time. He will also learn to regulate his own screen time when the rules and times are clearly defined, making it a normal activity like doing homework. Work, eat, tablet time!
Be a guide!
Above all, be there for your child! Discuss your child’s screen time activities regularly to keep finding interesting and appropriate content, and share active screen time together (English lesson, perhaps?)! It’s a great way to bond and discover digital content together. Ask him for feedback on his screen time: “What’s your favorite app, and why?” “Does any content make you uncomfortable? Let’s talk about that.” Discuss how to balance screen time with other activities like school, sports, dance, and family/friend time. There’s a lot of digital content out there, and kids can easily get lost. So remember to be a constant guide for your child to help him adapt to his evolving interests in a safe and fun way.
Navigating our ever-changing digital world is challenging, and kids especially need guidance. Through ongoing discussion and shared discovery, you can help your child find the tools and build the skills that will guide him on his digital journey for years to come!