We live in a world where it is perfectly normal to have a laptop on your desk, a tablet in your bag and a smartphone in your pocket. Technology is advancing quickly and children are getting a lot better at it too! In recent years, we see children on their tablet for hours – in fact, children spend at least five to six hours a day staring at screens- namely, television, iPads and smartphones. Because technology moves so fast, and children have embraced it so quickly, it has become difficult for many parents to control.
Parents are encouraged to limit their children from spending too much time on these devices as it can lead to negative factors such as sleep disorders, obesity/malnutrition, aggression, poor social skills and poor academic performance. To avoid these effects, children should be encouraged to play outdoors, engage in a sport they like, and spend time playing with other children. This will allow them to develop initiative, problem- solving skills, social skills, and emotional resilience.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offer some great strategies on how to limit use of these devices with kids:
- Setting hours per day: Limiting the time spent on the device will allow the parent to take control of their child’s play time.
- Find apps with built-in timers: Video streamers like Cakey and Huvi have internal timers so the app stops on its own. However, it is up to the parent to make sure the child is not jumping into another app.
- Control devices: Keep computers and game consoles in a shared space such as a family room.
- Provide alternatives: Have another activity lined up such as coloring, sports, board game.
- Tell kids to stop at a natural break: Before your kid gets on a device, talk about what they want to do or play.
- Discuss consequences and follow through when kids test the limits: When all else fails, it’s important to have discussed consequences for when your kid won’t give it up.
For more information on how much time your child should be on a device, please watch video below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=98&v=KAIVRZ6pkoo