26 Apr · Tim Carter · No Comments

According to a 2004 study, children in Spain were spending nearly 1000 hours per year watching television. That was more time than they spent in school. Something similar happens in countries all over the world and is not limited to children only. 2004 is a relatively long time ago; today the numbers are definitely much bleaker. Today more people are spending more time behind screens than ever. As such, it is very important for parents to manage their own and their children’s screen time. Herein are several ways to go about this.

1. Understand the dangers of screen time.

For a parent to be able to effectively manage screen time, they have to be aware of some of the dangers involved with prolonged screen time. In both children and adults the resultant inactivity puts them at risk of obesity, high cholesterol levels and spinal conditions. In children, it is associated with a myriad of mental problems. They develop imitation attitudes rather than creative ones and they have confusion between fiction and reality. Too much television can also cause nervousness and insomnia in adults while causing low sociability and night terrors in young children. It can also lead to television addiction and insatiability. Additionally, excess screen time can expose children to explicit images, graphic reports and predators. Once a parent is familiar with these risks they can then be able to formulate and follow guidelines on the management of screen time for themselves and their children.

2. Make screen time a privilege.

Depending on the age of their children, parents can use screen time as an end result of more productive activities in and around the house. In other words, parents must learn and thus teach their children that screen time is not a priority but a luxury. From this they can set effective guidelines on the things they and their children need to do in order to earn screen time. For instance, parents may agree to spend more time with their children or help with homework before watching television. Children learn through imitation and they are more likely to respect the screen time guidelines if their parents also stick to the same. For the children, they can complete a house chore or play outside. The point here is to get them to learn that there are other more fun activities to be undertaken other than spending time behind a screen. It is important to note that daycare managers should never use television or other devices as babysitters for children.

3. Make use of control options.

This is the more proactive childcare initiative. Parents must always be in control of all the devices in the house. Almost all modern devices have parental control and pass code features. Parents must get acquainted to these features. The system menus of video game consoles, computers and televisions have parental control and password options such as shut down timers, guided access and security settings. It is a good practice for parents to demonstrate full ownership of all the gadgets in their homes. It is also very important for parents to always stay informed on technological advancements. Children even in preschool can often find ways to bypass parental restrictions on devices. This is particularly vital for Internet Connected Devices.

Tim Carter

I’m Tim Carter, a thirty something year old, husband, father, childcare owner, and chocolate brownie lover. I believe children deserve better and only hope this blog will create a little change.