Children in our current time have access on a wide variety of technology. It’s hard for them to imagine a life without television, cellphone, computer, tablet or internet as they are completely dependent on it. But spending a long time in front of these electronics has a lot of negative effects on children that can also be harmful if you just let them be.
Aside from obesity, they may also display aggressive behavior due to the games they play or programs they watch. Most of the video games and programs that children plays or get addicted to contains violence, and because children usually copy what they see or what is “in”, it could have a big effect on their behavior. Spending too much screen time can also affect their studies, their attitude and way they interact with people and it can also affect their eating habits.
The average screen time for teens and children should only be one or two hours a day. If they spend more than that, it would be harmful for them.
7 Tips for Managing Screen Time for Healthy, Happy Kids
1. Be a model when it comes to healthy electronic use
If we want our children to spend only a few hours of screen time, we should limit our screen time too. You can’t expect your children to follow your rules without arguing if they always see you in front of the computer or on your phone. If you don’t want them watching tv or using their phone during family meals, you should also do that. As parents, we should be a good role model to our children. Plus, in doing so, you can spend a good amount of time during meals to ask your children about their day.
2. Set household rules
Most of us, if not all, have our own household rules which we can also apply on limiting our children’s screen time.
We can set a limit on how much time they can use their phone or keep up with their social media. If you’re going to do this, you need to properly and thoroughly explain to them that what you’re doing isn’t a punishment but for their own good.
You may also set up a rule where they’re not allowed to use their phone or computer during homework or exam period, unless they need to use it for research and completing their homework. This can also help your children to focus more on studying rather than their cellphone.
3. Don’t allow screen media on your child’s bedroom
We should never allow our children to use their cellphone, computer or tablet inside their bedroom because it may affect their sleep. Studies show that the blue light being emitted from computers and cellphones can interfere with their sleep cycle and may lead to insomnia.
You should keep our technology in a central location, such as the living room. That way, we can keep our children from using their screen media on their bedtime and at the same time, we’d be able to monitor the programs they’re watching and the games they play.
3. Make screen time a privilege
Since children nowadays can get their hands on different types of electronics, they think that it’s okay to use it all as much as they want, but that’s wrong. We have to make it clear to them that screen time is a privilege, not a right. Instead of giving them smartphones or computers that they can use as much as they want, we should make them earn their screen time as a reward. That way, they would do their best to study, get high scores on their exam or complete the household chores you gave them just to earn their screen time. Doing this also teaches your children that nothing in this life are free. They should know that you own the devices and just renting them.
4. Encourage other activities
One of the negative effects for children of spending too much screen time is obesity. It is because most of the time, they spend long hours just sitting in front of a computer or lying down while playing on their phone, which means they are not moving their body. That’s why we need to encourage our children to get involved with other activities that don’t involve technology.
Get your child to play outside with his friends or teach him how to ride a bike. These activities do not only allow your children to actively move his body, but it also allows him to become more sociable.
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5. Use apps to limit screen time for kids
If your children are not following the household rules that you set, you can always count on different apps to limit the screen time of your kids. In other words, fight technology with a different technology.
Since this is the Information Age and you can basically find anything and everything by just searching the internet, you’ll see that there are lots of apps that you can use to monitor and limit our children’s play time, the programs they can watch and the games they can play.
6. Be involved in their lives
Sometimes, the answer for managing our children’s screen time lies with us: their parents. Since we are so busy with our work or daily chores, we usually don’t have time to bond with our child which is the reason why they turn their attentions to technology.
As a parent, we should be involved in our children’s lives. We should observe, listen and ask your children about their school, their friends, and their day. Even a random topic is fine as long as you’re connecting with them. Be a parent. Don’t just use television or games to divert your children’s attention just so you can work in peace. Work is important, but the health and well-being of your children is more important.
Provide an ample amount of family time to bond with your children. You can travel, go to a park or play with them. There are lots of different activities that you can do together that would be more enjoyable for them than playing games on their computer. Activ Flyer kids Frisbee is perfect for your family bonding. It is guaranteed that you and your kids will have a great time playing with this because it is lighter than regular Frisbee so you won’t have to worry about your children getting hurt. Your kids will definitely enjoy hours of fun playing catch, ring toss or whatever games they create with their imagination. Plus, they make awesome pool toys!
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It is important to put a limitation to your children’s screen time for them to have a healthy body, lifestyle and social life. But upon doing so, you need to properly tell them that you’re not limiting their access to their gadgets because you’re punishing them; they need to know that you’re doing it for their own benefit.