There is certainly a lot of debate about how much screen time is appropriate for children, but most experts seem to agree that reducing it is a good idea. Too much time online can lead to problems with focus, social skills, and overall health. So try to set some reasonable limits and make sure your kids get plenty of breaks from the screens.
One way to limit internet time is to set a timer for each activity. For instance, you might give your child an hour of screen time in the morning and then take away the screens for the rest of the day. This will help them focus on other activities, and they’ll be less likely to become addicted to their devices.
It’s also important to make sure that your children are getting enough exercise and outdoor time. Too much time spent indoors can lead to weight gain and other health problems. So try to encourage your kids to play outside, go for walks, or ride their bikes.
The Battle Over Screen Time
Nowadays, roughly every teen out there has a smartphone, tablet, or both. Of course, they are Internet-enabled. For modern children, these gadgets have become the primary mean of communication with their peers. Add here PCs and TV, and you’ll get the number of up to 9 hours per day – that’s how much time kids spend on different types of screens. It’s probably more than many parents spend on their working places! This resulted in a real war between parents and children over screen time, with the fight to limit Internet access time being one of the major battles.
Naturally, parents worry about how youngsters use their time. They often consider online games, social media, Internet messengers, and other activities a waste of precious time and resources. Children, on the contrary, see those things as vital parts of their lives. Admittedly, it is at least partly true because interaction via the Internet lets them stay connected with friends and even helps to socialize. But you will hardly find mom or dad who would put up with their kids being literally glued to mobile phones every spare minute.
|Teens preferably use smartphones to surf the Internet. Furthermore, 24% of them say they are online almost constantly, even at night.||Parents find it very problematic to supervise how their children use the Internet and behave online because of smartphones and other mobile devices.||Parents do limit kids’ Internet time. Mostly this is done with a hands-on approach, but the use of blocking and limiting apps is on the rise.|
The issue of Internet overuse is closely connected to the problem of children’s online safety. Simple logic: the more time a kid spends browsing the Web, the more probability he or she may fall victim to various online threats. Cyberbullying, inappropriate content, sexual predators, identity thieves – this list of Internet hazards can be very long. Together, they make a substantial reason for parents to pay close attention to their kids’ online activities. This goal is easiest to achieve by monitoring and limiting software, arguably the best way to prevent web dangers and the development of Internet addiction.
Tips & Tricks To Limit Browsing Time
Averting multiple online perils is just one of the reasons parents should limit their kids’ screen and Internet time. Spending too much online can cause sleep and attention problems, anxiety and depression, behavior changes, and obesity. Sooner or later, it will negatively impact school performance as well. Among warning signs of pathological Internet use is irritation or rage when online time is interrupted; lying about the amount of time spent on the Net; losing interest in activities that the kid enjoyed before; disobedience, etc.
If you notice these symptoms, it’s time for you to take action and limit screen time and the time your child spends online. Yet, remember: the mission will be much easier to accomplish, and the results will be much better if you manage to show your kids specific benefits they would get if they browse less.
Here are several essential tips that will help you together with your little ones reduce the time they spend surfing the Internet:
- Help them find a hobby. There are so many exciting things you can do together with kids – you will definitely find something more interesting than scrolling Facebook timeline.
- Go outside and exercise. From joint morning physical drills to joining a club – sport is one of the best ways to keep youngsters fit and sparkling.
- Play games – non-computer-based ones. Board games, cards, puzzles – there are so many ideas for having an evening of fun with the family!
- Set “no gadget” times. Dinner, family time, bedtime, etc. – agree with kids not to use any electronics during these events. Follow the rules yourself, too.
- Keep gadgets out of sight. Storing computers, tablets, phones, and even TV in a cabinet is an effective way to break the habit of automatically turning them on.
So here you have time-tested tips to help limit access to the Internet for your kids. At the same time, remember that not all screen time is bad for children. For example, video chatting with grandparents via Skype or using approved and certified learning apps (math, language, music, etc.) is not something you should restrict your kid from. Also, don’t go cold turkey and reduce Internet time gradually, first going with some smaller changes.
But above all, remember that kids learn from adults. As the closest grown-up, you are the most prominent example for your child. Thus, if you show restraint and watch your own habits, your requests would be much more respected and followed with less opposition.