We live in a digital age, and with the way things are progressing, it is just a matter of time before there are screens in every aspect of life. I was one of those pre-parents that swore screens would be banned in my house. I saw the effects of screen dependency and read the articles about brain development and how screen time can affect it. But like every other aspect of motherhood, it very rarely goes as planned, and the fact that my husband is a tech-head didn’t help the cause. In all honesty, in my experience, screen time has helped my son in many aspects. Here are some of the things that helped me make my son’s screen time safe and effective.
- Set the parental control settings on the kiddos tablet.
- Utilize profile and account liking that can help monitor and manage your child’s usage.
- Play and test out applications before you allow your child to play them.
- Be aware of in-app purchases and advertisements within the applications. Not all the advertisements are kid-friendly.
- You get what you pay for! While there are many great free apps many of them are full of advertisements that can make it hard for your little one to navigate the applications.
- Find applications that align with your child’s interest.
- Not all applications have to be pack with educations. Most applications for small children have some form of education. It’s ok to give your kid some screen time that focuses on fun.
Screen dependency has become a growing concern. With tablets and televisions consuming so much of our time, it can be easy for our children to pick up the habit of relying on screens for entertainment and communications. Here are a few signs that your child may be dependant on screen time.
- Does your child throw tantrums when you tell them it is time to put the tablet away?
- Has your child lost interest in activities that do not require the use of a screen.
- Is your child unable to complete simple things without needing screen time?
- Does your child need screen time to influence or improve their mood and behavior?
I didn’t want my son to think that I was shoving a screen in front of him to distract him or limit our time together. Modeling positive screen time behavior is very important. Our children mimic the things we do all the time. To help my son understand healthy screen time behavior I do my best to explain appropriate times to use his iPad and times in which he should not. Setting boundaries has helped us get our point across. Here are some boundaries that are working in our home.
- No screen time at the dinner table.
- No screen time in bed.
- No screen time during family time.
- No screen time while we are outside playing
- We don’t use the iPad as a means of pacifying.
Screen time can be very beneficial when monitored and limited. We use screen time to reinforce educational lessons and means of communication with family. Here is a list of applications that are working for us. Let me know what some of your favorite applications for your child are!