It might feel like regulating screen time is a constant and unending battle with your child in this age of technology. We are all surrounded by monitors of some type nearly all of the time now, making screens much more appealing to children today than in years past.
Differing amounts of screen time is alright, depending on what stage of development your child is in, however its effect on a child’s brain and development differs depending on their age. If your kid is in preschool, for example, they will be affected differently than a child who is in high school. We will be discussing how screen time affects kids of different ages in this article, so be sure to keep reading.
Birth to Age 5
If your child is young, it can be hard to get them off of their devices sometimes. This is important because you want to make sure that they are getting the right amount of engagement with family and friends as well. Interacting with family can help teach kids social cues and develop their motor skills.
Developing motor skills during this life stage is very important. Your preschooler should be exploring and moving on their own to improve these skills. Screens tend to halt their physical development and prolonged use may even slow it down.
Even though screen time for children at this age can provide some education and learning opportunities, it is much more of a distraction in most cases.
How Much Screen Time is Okay?
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended less than one hour of screen time for kids this young. If your child is younger, be sure they are spending even less time in front of a screen.
Children learn better from real interactions than they do from kid’s shows and videos. You will want to play, draw, and read with your kids every day. That way, they will feel less inclined to have screen time.
Over the Age of 6
As your child gets older, you can allow them to have a little more screen time than before but there should still be limits in place to prevent dependency. This can be done by using software on the device itself, or by using routers or other devices that can disable the internet to those devices at specific times of the day or night.
For children in this age bracket time in front of screens may be granted once other, more important things are completed. They should have enough time to work on and complete schoolwork, engage in at least one hour of physical activity, and spend time engaging and interacting with others. Anytime that is leftover can be used for screen time and other activities.
Tweens and Teenagers
Kids at this age generally have more access to screens and are also more likely to abuse them. This is particularly problematic when they are using a device instead of sleeping as this can affect their cognitive abilities. They are also more likely to engage in sexting and the frequent use of pornography which not only leads to addiction but may affect their ability to develop healthy relationships in the future.
Parental controls on internet usage for this group can be an effective line of defense against addictive behavior and screen dependency. Turning devices in at night and shutting off the WiFi is just one of many ways you can help maintain balance and facilitate a healthy relationship with technology and how your teenagers use it.
When it comes to this age, the content they view is every bit as important as the time they spend on the device. Encourage teens to spend time on things that educate, elevate, and inspire them and to recognize when they are engaging in things that are negative or destructive.
Technology will be with us for the foreseeable future which is why it is important that we teach our children how to engage with these devices in a healthy and productive way. The CleanerNet can be a great tool for anyone who wants to maintain a balanced and healthy approach to technology and the internet within their families and in their homes.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.