Screens have become an integral part of our everyday lives. Almost all of our important daily operations are aided by screens. Our devices entertain us, allow us to communicate, and even order food! You have probably seen screens in the hands of many children and teenagers. While some parents are taking strides to reduce their child’s screen time, other parents are taking a more laid-back approach to screen time. Read about both below to learn more about the effects of screen time on kids and ways you can reduce your child’s screen time should you choose to do so.
The Effects of Screen Time on Children
While it’s clear that excessive screen time does have an effect on brain development, some questions still remained unanswered. It is still unclear whether or not screens cause poor academic performance or if children who aren’t performing well in school are more drawn to electronic devices. However, other studies have correlated overexposure to screens with poor sleep and obesity.
Ways Parents Are Reducing Screen Time
While the effects of screen time are still not completely known, it’s understandable that parents are worried about devices sucking up so much of their children’s time and energy. Here are a few measures that concerned parents are taking to reduce the amount of time their kids spend glued to a device.
1. Staying on Schedule
Many parents have complained that screens interfere with their children’s homework and bedtime routines. Some parents strictly limit the time and duration that their kids may use devices during the week. In some homes, devices are only allowed to be used on the weekends. For kids in school who need to stay on a routine, this approach has given many parents back their sleep-deprived, screen-zombie children. The trick to making it stick is being consistent week after week.
2. Allowing the Occasional Binge
In many cases, parents enjoy their screens just as much as children. On the weekends, some parents are choosing to relinquish the devices back to their kids so that they can get things done or relax. Other parents are choosing to join their kids in Netflix and game binges around other scheduled weekend activities.
By incorporating free days into your screen schedule, you give your kids the time they desire to watch YouTube and play games while also ensuring that a device addiction can’t be formed.
3. Using Tracking Apps
What better way to limit screen time than to download another app? As ironic as it may sound, many parents are turning to tracking apps to help monitor their kids’ screen time. These apps allow parents to see where their child is spending their time and for how long. These apps are also opening the line of communication between parents and children about setting responsible limits. Ultimately, it teaches children about how to live a balanced life.
One Silicon Valley mom takes a different approach to screens and her children. She and her husband are natural tech-lovers and have an array of devices laying around the house. For her, limiting screen time was something she never thought about.
However, her kids are far from vegetables. For her family, screens are a part of their balanced, everyday lives. Sometimes, screen time doesn’t happen when homework and appointments take place. Her household is based on flexibility, and modern technology is an integral part of her family’s daily operations. For her, it’s a way that she and her family connect, have fun, and get schoolwork done.
Whichever way you choose to approach screen time for your kids, it’s important to note that both of these approaches put the human in charge of the device. The screen-scheduling parents and the Silicon Valley mom both know that the best way to handle screens is to make them a balanced part of life rather than the ruler of life, allowing them to reap the benefits of technology while negating its addictive effects.