As we head into an increasingly technological age, detaching children from screens is only going to become a tougher task for parents. With smartphones and handheld devices growing more and more common, it’s helpful for parents to have a strong set of rules around using them so that kids remain healthy, safe and social.
A new Huffington Post article by Manoush Zomorodi suggests 12 rules for limiting your kids’ screen time as recommended by pediatrician, Dr. Ari Brown.
Dr. Brown’s list of screen time rules includes the following:
1. Create a media strategy for your family and adjust it as your children age.
2. Limit media time on all screens (including interactive ones) to two hours a day, if possible.
3. Go into a device’s setting and restrict access to content; “Don’t throw your hands up in the air and say, ‘Oh, my son knows more about technology than I do,’” says Brown.
4. Keep phones and tablets out of kids’ bedrooms.
5. Put devices (including yours) “to sleep” in a kitchen basket, 30 minutes before bedtime.
6. Evaluate your own media use and set limits. “You are your child’s role model and so if you cannot disconnect, how can you expect your child to disconnect?” says Brown.
7. Keep off all screens at dinnertime. (I’m SO guilty of this one. How else can I shovel in the spinach?)
8. Take stock of your teen’s maturity before allowing them to join Facebook or other social media.
9. Let your child know you will be joining them on Facebook or other social media. Dr Brown suggests saying, “I’m going to browse occasionally and make sure you are making smart choices.”
10. Accept that older teens need phones (especially if they drive) and middle schoolers might need phones (to help parents keep track of them).
11. Tell your children to think before they text — only write what they would say to a friend’s face.
12. Don’t give your younger child a phone if you are always at pickup or drop-off.
The article also talks about the effects of overexposing kids to screens and the importance of play. You can read the full entry here.