Kids today spend way too much time in front of screens
How much exactly? This varies from kid to kid, but this scary fact sums it up…
The average kid in America spends over 7.5 hours a day in front of screens, and that’s outside of the classroom.
Added up, that’s more than a full time job.
Pretty scary stuff, hey?
People aren’t meant to spend all their time in front of screens… Especially kids.
Excessive screen time can lead to:
- Impaired mental and physical well-being.
- A loss of quality sleep.
- Impeded impulse control (for kids, impulse control is already hard enough!).
- Poor communication skills (nonverbal cues are learned in face-to-face interaction, not through device-to-device communication).
- Addictive behaviors, and even violent tendencies.
- Vision problems.
- An increased risk of obesity.
Now, let’s be clear on something: devices can be harmful for kids, but if they are used moderately, and under parents supervision, they can be incredibly powerful learning and communication tools.
Here are 3 tips to keep children’s device use in check:
- Set a Good Example
The best way that parents can help children develop healthy screen time habits is to be conscious of their own device use. This means not making work emails a priority at the dinner table, making eye contact when you’re speaking to your kids, and just generally being conscious of how much time you spend in front of screens.
2. Determine Priorities
What comes before screens in your family? Homework? Sleep? Family time? Make clear rules, and then stick to them. As long as everyone is on the same page (see above!), these rules should be easy enough to enforce (… see below!).
3. Download OurPact
OurPact is a free parental control app that allows parents to get much more involved in their children’s device habits. Using the app, parents have the ultimate say in when kids are able to access applications and internet on their device.
- At-a-Touch Blocking (blocking dinner for one hour for a family dinner), or
- Automated schedules (a bedtime block that kicks in every night before bedtime).
Teaching children healthy device habits is not just important, it’s essential. The payoff will be a more balanced, healthy kid, and stronger relationships in your family. What’s there to lose?