There’s no denying we are in a digital age. We are so connected. In fact, many would say we are over connected! As adults, we always have our heads down as we are on our phones. We have screens available to us at all times, and we’re always being served information. As much as we try to minimize the amount of screen time our children are exposed to, it’s there, and there is only so much we can do to minimize it.
Our children are the first generation who are exposed at all times. They don’t know a world without the excessive use of technology — they even try to flip the pages of magazines like a digital screen. It’s just the way it is. However, there are ways to be smart with screen time, set up boundaries at a young age, and set your children up to self regulate as they get older.
Dr. Anthony Rao, a child psychologist, recommends no screen time for children under the age of 2. At this age, brain development is still occurring rapidly, and screens can have a negative impact on brain development, leading to a host of issues in the future, such as ADD and myopia. Though it’s not entirely realistic to keep kids entirely away from screens, be smart and vigilant about what access they do have.
Age 3 through middle school
Now is the time to start setting boundaries to set your kids up for future self regulation. Screen time encourages our children to expect fast responses in every aspect of life, leading to frustration when they don’t get immediate responses. Though there are many educational apps, Dr. Rao says these make it seem as though children are smarter, but eventually all the other kids catch up. He recommends an hour during the weekdays and two on the weekends, and to treat screen time as a reward. As the parent, you set and enforce the rules. Your house, your way.
Middle school and up
At this age, there becomes a significant gender divide. Boys become more addicted to screens than their female counterparts. Encourage outside interests, and take an approach that works for your family. Be the boss, establish firms rules (i.e., “In our house…”), and stick with them. In time, our children will learn to self regulate and respect and control their own boundaries. Be smart and be proactive. We have rules for so many things in life, and screen time should not be an exception.
How much screen time is too much for a 3- vs. a 10-year-old? * Are boys really falling behind, or is it just media hype? * What impact does the use of technology have on a child’s growth and development?
If you ask yourself these questions, please consider joining us for a parental discussion on February 1, with renowned author and child psychologist Dr. Anthony Rao. To learn more or reserve your seat visit http://hubs.ly/H05QRn50.