Times have changed. Kids once preferred playing outside with their friends, but many children now want to spend time with their friends on multiplayer video games and digital chat rooms.
This presents a dilemma for parents. How much screen time is okay for children? Should you make a distinction between social media and other online activities? Are video games with chat functions safe for kids?
Today we’re taking a look at screen time to help you make informed decisions about your child’s free time. While these tips apply to most children, they’re not universal, so use your best judgment.
It’s not fair to prevent a child from accessing technology at all. Some parents overcorrect and keep their children from ever playing video games or owning their own tablet or laptop. This can result in your child resenting you for not allowing them to enjoy the same media as their peers.
Instead, strike a healthy balance between screen time and outdoor time. Children need exercise, but they also need mental stimulation. Remember that not all screen time is the same, either!
There’s a difference between a child using social media and a child playing video games on their own. Social media can be a positive influence on a youngster, especially if they interact with friends from school and family members. In some cases, this is the easiest way for your child to spend time with friends. As such, you should consider this a different activity than watching TV or playing video games.
However, you should still limit screen time based on your child’s health. It’s not good for a kid to stare at a display all day. Their eyes are still developing, and constant exposure to screens can cause eye strain and vision problems. You should also discuss healthy social media habits with your kids.
Playing video games and watching TV are normal pastimes for young children and adults alike. However, it’s important that kids don’t spend too much time immobile in front of the TV or computer.
Exercise and exposure to sunlight are important for youngsters’ development! As a rule of thumb, try to limit screen time to three hours on school nights and four hours on the weekends.
If your kids feel bored after you implement these rules, try to get them active to help them stay entertained. Enroll them in sports programs, encourage them to play outside with their friends, and offer them books and board games that will allow them to play without staring at a screen.