Electronics are incredibly effective in keeping your child quiet and entertained for hours. However, too much screen time can affect your child in three ways. Firstly, lowering their attention span and the ability to process things. Second, decreasing their concentration in the process as screen time takes away the brain’s need to process information and concentrate. Lastly, it affects their cognitive reasoning as stress on the brain from screen devices can cause the part of our brain which is responsible for reasoning to become inactive.
However, growing up in a world full of technology, screen time for your child is inevitable. What you can do is to follow the guideline by American Psychological Association for screen time for different ages.
- 18 months and below: avoid it totally except video-chatting
- 18 months to 24 months: Select only high-quality contents to watch with your child.
- 2 years to 5 years old: Allow only up to a maximum of an hour’s screentime per day. Select only high-quality contents to watch.
- 6 years old and above: Be consistent with the rules you set and filter what media is allowed.
With the rules set in place, follow these 5 steps to ensure that your child is not over-reliant on technology and safe online!
01. Set a good example
In your spare time, before you kick back to enjoy your favourite show or scroll through the endless videos and posts, remember to set a good example for your children. Instead of screen time, use your spare time to engage in activities and get your children to join in too!
02. Stay updated on the latest trends
In late 2017 to early 2018, inappropriate version of Peppa Pig started circulating Youtube. Under the disguise of Peppa Pig, these contents would easily reach the view of children as they search Youtube for Peppa Pig related video contents. Therefore, parents should stay updated on the latest trends and supervise their children.
03. Create ‘technology-free’ zones
Set down some rules for places in your house where electronic devices should not be allowed, such as the bedroom and the dining room so that the bedroom, for example, can be reserved for rest and sleeping while the dining room can be reserved for family conversation.
04. Do activities together
Encourage your child to get out and explore! Reward them by bringing them out to the zoo or waterparks instead of rewarding them with additional screen time. Treat screen time as a privilege
05. Use parental controls
Information and contents are increasingly easily accessible with the internet. Use parental controls to filter out any explicit content while they’re online. It also helps you to monitor what kind of content they’re accessing and what they are doing online.