Over the Christmas holidays it is likely that your family will be spending more time than usual on screens particularly if digital devises have been given as gifts!
It’s a good idea to bear the following advice in mind, from The American Academy of Paediatrics, who in late 2016 released updated guidelines on screentime.
- For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.
- For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
- For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviours essential to health.
- Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
- Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.
These guidelines are undoubtedly sensible and are certainly achievable. It is a good idea to start with something easy to implement, for example having screen free locations in your house. Also, having regular conversations with your child about building a consciousness of their use of screens will help them to create a balance in their use.
Screens are increasingly becoming a part of childhood, helping your child to manage their use and create a healthy balance is a central part of being a parent in a digital age!