We’ve gone through a digital evolution in the past two decades. The extent of available electronics is astounding, as is the rate at which they are continuing to be produced. From iPods and cell phones to tablets, e-readers, computers and more, our children are inundated with technology that is easily accessible and getting harder to manage
As parents, the extent of our digital experience (as a child) was the television, radio and cd player. We thought the cordless phone was amazing and was glad to finally have privacy on our calls!
What’s difficult is that we cannot compare. We didn’t grow up in a digital age, so we don’t have our own experiences to fall back on.
There are a lot of arguments for and against screen time. Everything from the type of programming kids are taking in to the amount of time seems to vary. Classrooms are being transformed into digital learning centers with the use of tablets and computers and digital whiteboards.
So what’s acceptable?
18 Months or Younger: No screen time except for the occasional FaceTime or Skype with family and friends.
Ages 2 – 5: Less than one hour per day and should be quality, educational programming without advertisements.
Ages 6+: Should be limited and prioritized with other needs. Homework, physical activity, family time should all be prioritized before screen time. The amount of time depends on the family, but screen time should be more of an afterthought than allowed and monitored. For teens, it’s especially important to discuss the risks of digital environments like social media, texting, etc. in regards to cyber bullying, false profiles, etc.
TKD Tip: We can’t just look at our kids though when it comes to screen time. They model our behavior, so if you’re spending a lot of time on your phone or computers, you’re telling them it’s okay. Lead by example and set limits for all family members
Parent/Child Activity: Sit down with your child(ren) and write out screen-free activities they can do on their own or you can do as a family. Reading books, visiting a museum, arts and crafts, writing a letter to a family member, etc. When they ask for screen time, have them select one of these items first.