Expert Theresa Desuyo provides tips to curb kids’ screen time
In a society that heavily relies on digital devices for communication, entertainment and homework, teenagers and children spending a significant amount of their day in front of a screen is now the “new normal.” In today’s screen-filled world, parents struggle to help guide their kids toward healthy amounts of device use. Here are some tips and guidelines to ensure healthy amounts of device use for kids.
Have an open dialogue
Parents should first have an open conversation with their children about why they are going to be setting limits on screen time in their household. Talk through the concerns of too much screen time and the importance of a healthy digital diet.
Establish screen-free times
One of the simplest ways you can begin to manage screen time in your family is to set “screen-free” zones or designated times. For example, device-free meal times and not bringing devices into the bedroom at night are two important times to establish when screens won’t be used. Meal time should be a time where families can connect and catch up with one another rather than be distracted by devices. At night, device use can negatively impact sleep, so it is important to keep devices out of your kids’ rooms. Have a conversation together to discuss what other times will be designated as device-free in your household.
Lead by example
Often times, children copy what their parents do, so it’s important to try to set a positive example for them. While parents are diligent about monitoring their child’s screen time and limiting access to electronic devices, they are often not as mindful about setting limits on their own device use. If parents are meticulous about modeling healthy amounts of device use, kids will often model that behavior. This means, if you set screen time rules, stick to them yourself. This means no scrolling on your phone during meal times or replying to work emails during screen-free family activities.
- Theresa Desuyo, is the digital family expert at Qustodio. In this role, she leads Qustodio’s insights into how to best generate talking points around technology use adapted to each family’s reality. She is also the mother to three children, ages 13, 11, and 6.