Controlling screen time for kids – why it’s important

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Too much screen time for kids can result in disrupted sleep patterns, reduced self esteem, emotional problems and poor family functioning. Additionally, the time taken away from physical activities can lead to obesity (American Academy of Pediatrics).

Whether or not you’re convinced that too much screen time or ‘Internet Use Disorder’ is an actual mental health disorder (ask the American Psychiatric Association) most parents would prefer their teenager go outside and ride a bike instead of sitting hunched over their laptop all afternoon. But screens are everywhere. The home computer, cell phones, TVs and tablets offer a constant source of easy entertainment (and free babysitting). So what are parents to do?

Tossing out your flat-screens and smart devices probably isn’t an option. But we have compiled a few suggestions to help make screen time a more social and creative activity for your kids and the entire family:

1. PARTICIPATE IN YOUR CHILD’S SCREEN TIME. The Oregon Social Learning Center found that parental supervision and control of child media exposure can mitigate the harmful effects of television and internet use. Play online games or watch television with your kids to allow them to put the shows and games into a healthy context. This will also allow you to ensure the content they are exposed to is appropriate.

2. SET TIME LIMITS on the amount of television your kids can watch and the amount of time your kids can spend on-line. Services like ChildProtect can allow you to literally cut off your child’s internet access during certain times of the day and night. Additionally, HomeConnex’ service can give you control over the websites and search terms your children can browse or use.

3. GET CREATIVE with your home media. Encourage your kids to create their own movies (they can do this on their smart phone) and watch them together. There are tons of free software packages that will allow them to edit and share home videos. Help them create a YouTube channel or playlist of their own material!

How are you supervising and controlling your child’s use of the internet? We’d love to hear your ideas! Please share in the comments section below:

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About Ebony

Ebony is the co-founder of HomeConnex. For 7 years she managed public relations and strategic communications campaigns in South East Asia and South America. Now, she spends time with her husband and two beautiful children and helps families improve their quality of life through technology.

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