It’s no surprise that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the amount of time kids spend on a screen remains high according to a recent study by SuperAwesome. When the pandemic lockdowns began in March 2020, SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, screen time is still up by 50%.
While increasing screen time can sound scary for some parents, a majority of parents (62%) now see how devices can be used as educational tools.
Although knowing what is the right amount of screen time for your kids is appropriate, here are a few tips from GreatSchools.org to help manage your kids’s screen time:
1. Know your kids and know your values: If your child complains that all his friends are watching a particular TV show that contains a lot of sex and or violence, explain what your values are and why you are sticking to them. Or if you know your child is more prone to nightmares than his friend, exercise caution in letting him watch scary shows, even if all his friends are watching them.
2. Be conscious of age-appropriateness: Use your judgment and consult media reviews. Be aware that although several companies are marketing videos for babies and toddlers, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children under the age of 2. And a PG-13 rating on a movie doesn’t necessarily mean that all 13-year-olds are ready to see it or that younger children shouldn’t see it. It’s a guideline and it’s up to you to decide.
3. Set family rules and stick to them: For example, watching TV is OK from 7 to 9 p.m. or after the homework is done or only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Consistency through the years is also important.
4. Limit screen time: It’s important to consider that it’s not just TV but all forms of media that need to be considered when setting guidelines.
5. Use technology to control the media: Netflix, Hulu, and DVRs make it easier to control what is on and when. Green says that these are all great tools because a parent can hit the pause button, talk to their kids and discuss certain scenes or behaviors as they are happening.
6. Set family viewing time: Have regular family movie nights and use them as opportunities to watch together and discuss. Be on the alert for teachable moments.
7. Keep media out of kids’ bedrooms: It’s much easier to exercise control when your child is within view. So that means keeping video games, the TV and the computer in a common area where you can keep an eye on things.