Since this summer, we’ve developed a bit of a problem in the house and I’m not sure how to deal with it.
My kids are obsessed with tech gadgets or should I say, screens. Whether it’s the television, playing video games on a tablet, iPod or gaming system like the Wii, there is just TOO MUCH. Too much screen time for kids.
They could easily go from watching Good Luck Charlie to playing Minecraft to battling in Super Mario Kart without blinking an eye.
At the same time, I spend my days switching from Facebook and Twitter to emails and WordPress and back again and then onto Pinterest and Instagram. Multi-tasking at its best (or worst) is having three browsers and 20 windows open on my computer and flipping back and forth in milliseconds.
With social media and tech taking such a huge role in our lives, I feel like we’ve all developed a “oh look, shiny” syndrome where we are easily distracted. We can be constantly entertained without ever having to use our thinking brain function.
But if I’m so digitally inclined, how do I deal with my children’s use? How do you limit the time kids spend with tech?
Most children spend about three hours a day watching TV. When you add in other screen time activities like video games, iPods, tablets, Nintendo DS’, etc., it is closer to five to seven hours a day. That is just insane!
The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends no more than TWO hours of screen time per day. Children under two years old should watch as little as possible.
So how can we limit screen time?
Here are 5 ways to limit screen time for children
1. Turn the TV off during meals, homework or when it isn’t being watched. The background noise is just too distracting for conversation and concentration on important school work.
2. Don’t make the mistake of having a television in your kids’ room. Or a computer for that matter. Have a common area where you can monitor and limit their use.
3. Make a point to have “no-tech” times throughout the week. For example, some parents don’t allow their children to use their iPods, iPads, tablets, or play video games during the school week.
4. Do other family activities such as board games, sports or getting outdoors for a walk.
5. Be a good role model as a parent and no matter how difficult it is, set limits on y0ur own screen time!
Here is a wonderful resource: http://www.screensmart.ca/screens_health