Q: How do I decide how much screen time is appropriate?
A: That varies from family to family. Just yesterday, I met with a Mom that gives her kids 30 minutes, 3 times a day – only because it’s summer. During the school year, it is 30 minutes after school and an hour a day on the weekends. I spoke with another family last week that allows it on the weekends only, and yet another family that doesn’t have any specific time constraints with their kiddos. As you can see, there are many different opinions here.
It depends on your child too. Some children can’t handle much before their behavior changes, while others can. Older kids and teens probably need more time than younger ones. I’m not a fan of electronics in their bedrooms, nor do I think it’s a good idea at bedtime. Electronics used as a babysitter is not advocated either.
When I speak of screen time, I’m including all of it…TV, computer, iPad, iPhone, gaming devices and the like. I encourage you to think about the adverse effects of being so immersed in the electronic world. Research is showing us that children with too much screen time are not as socially adept, have more behavioral problems, sleep difficulties, obesity and aggressive tendencies, to name a few. I’m seeing more and more kids that have difficulty with reciprocal conversation and the ability to make eye contact. They do not get to practice these important social skills when they are connected electronically. We know, for development, children need to and should be playing, being creative, experimenting and being relational. This is how they learn.
Media is part of our culture. Let’s help our kids make good decisions about it.