As a parent, determining how much screen time is too much screen time for your kids can be tricky. We know that not all media is created equal; some games develop useful real-life skills, while others just seek to entertain.
Since there isn’t a universally agreed-upon number of minutes or hours that a child should spend interacting with phones, laptops, or television, it’s pretty normal to feel a little uneasy about all of this. To help out, here are some tips to make sure your child is having a healthy relationship with their media:
Get Involved Ask your kids questions about what they are watching. Talk to them about the challenges they are facing in a certain game and draw parallels to the world outside of the game. Play or watch alongside them and ask them to teach you something to help you play better.
Quality Control Monitor what your kids are watching and playing and when they are watching it. YouTube has a helpful Restricted Mode that you can enable when your kids are on the platform to help filter inappropriate content.
Set Boundaries (and stick to them!) It’s helpful to have designated “on” and “off” times - for everyone! This helps to promote a healthy and deliberate relationship with screens rather than a compulsive one. If that means no screens at the dinner table, it’s best not to be checking your phone throughout the meal. If you are trying to teach your child the importance of being present, you should be present for them for the lesson.
Ultimately, if you are having concerns about how much media your child is consuming, check-in and have a look at how they are spending their time. To learn more about how computers can help your child develop real-life skills check out the Hack computer, a full-stack laptop that teaches your child how to code, create and think critically about the world.