Almost 50% of children under 8 spend over 2 hours per day on a smart device. While technology can be a great learning tool, spending too much time on screens can lead to lower grades, sleeping problems, and even mood and attention disorders. Tackling screen time can be challenging, especially after the pandemic with our children becoming fully accustomed to a virtual environment. As parents in the tech industry, these are our top tips on breaking the cycle of screen addiction and creating a healthier relationship between our kids and tech.
Identify The Problem
There are endless ways technology can occupy our children’s time ranging from social media, television, texting, and watching online videos. Identifying what content is consuming your child’s time is key to addressing the situation and finding the solutions. One option is setting up parental controls on their devices or apps to limit usage, block content, and reduce screen time to establish a healthy relationship with tech versus an overly reliant one.
Set Clear Boundaries
Set clear rules for your child with their devices so you are on the same page about expectations. Setting boundaries helps your child understand that technology is a privilege, not a right, and something they should treat with respect. Whether you choose to put away all smart devices at the dinner table, during homework, or set clear time limits per day, creating screen time limits helps your child be responsible with technology.
Encourage Outside Play
Getting outdoors offers an extensive list of benefits for our kiddos including stress reduction, motor development, physical benefits, and even helps social skills. Switching from blue light to sunlight, replacing tech consumption with quality friends and family time encourages real-life experiences that can’t compare to the screen.
Be A Role Model
Our children are observant and learn from our actions and behaviors. With adults spending 17+ hours a day on screens, the best way to reduce our children’s screen time is by starting with ourselves! While we’re constantly pulled in different directions with emails, Zoom meetings, and family group chats, setting down the phone while our little ones are around is one of the best ways for them to understand the truly valuable things in life are off the screen.
Be prepared to be met with fussing, complaints, and protests in your screen time journey. With technology interlacing itself in every aspect of our children’s lives, it's natural for our kids to think we’re being prehistoric by setting boundaries. While there may be a few hiccups along the way, being patient and remaining calm is key in the long run for success.
Breaking the screen time cycle looks different for every family, but we have a common goal in giving our children the building blocks to succeed. Whether you choose a safe pre-cell phone, like our kids smartwatch phones, or not, we’re here to help with navigating parenting in the digital age. If you’ve mastered the art of screen time boundaries or have any questions, DM us @myticktalk!