The very first question to ask yourself:
"How Much Screen Time Am I Getting?"
Did you know that the amount of screen time a parent gets can also influence the amount of screen time their children get? Yes, the evidence is strikingly clear:
Parental habits and attitudes towards screen time have a significant impact on the screen time habits of their children.
We understand how hard it can be. But always remember that by limiting your own screen time and leading by example you have the power to set a more balanced and healthy relationship with technology for your children.
1. Start with yourself and reflect truthfully about your own screen time habits.
2. Try turning off notifications. Particularly when you are with family.
3. Make a commitment to prioritise physical activity and face-to-face interactions whenever you can.
Recommended Hours of screen time for Children Per Day
Less than 2 years of age
2- 5 years
5-17 years of age
(*this doesn't include screen time needed for school work.)
*Physical activity and exercise guidelines for all Australians (24-hour movement guidelines for the early years and children and young people) May 2021, https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/physical-activity-and-exercise/physical-activity-and-exercise-guidelines-for-all-australians
It's hard to imagine a world without screens..
Children now grow up with technology as a constant presence in their lives, and it's not going away anytime soon. But, as much as screens have their benefits, too much screen time can have negative effects on a child's physical and mental health.
So, how can we help our children manage their screen time in a way that promotes healthy habits and allows them to still enjoy all the fun and educational experiences technology has to offer? Here are some tips to get you started:
Make It A Family Affair
Establishing screen time rules and limits shouldn't just be the responsibility of the parents. Involve your children in the process and ask for their input. Let them help set the rules and limits, and make it a team effort to stick to them. Check our our Family Media Plan below.
Get Creative With Screen-Free Activities
Technology is great, but it's important to remember there's a whole world of fun, engaging activities waiting for your children outside of screens. Have a family game night, go for a nature walk, or have a DIY craft day. The options are endless, and your children will love trying new things.
Turn Screen Time Into Quality Time
Instead of simply plopping your child in front of a screen and hoping for the best, make screen time a family event. Watch a movie together, play a video game as a team, or join an online educational class together. This way, you can keep an eye on what your child is experiencing, and have quality bonding time at the same time.
Encourage Healthy Habits
Spending hours in front of a screen can lead to poor posture, eye strain, and disrupted sleep patterns. Encourage your children to take regular breaks, stretch their legs, and adopt healthy habits like good posture and regular exercise.
Make the Most of Educational Apps and Games
There are many educational apps and games available that can help children develop important skills while they have fun. Encourage your children to try these out and find the ones that they enjoy the most.
Use Screens as a Reward
Rather than using screens as a constant distraction, use them as a reward for completing tasks or reaching certain milestones. For example, if your child completes all of their homework, they can have an hour of screen time.
Teach Digital Citizenship
Help your children understand the importance of online safety and digital citizenship. Teach them about online privacy, cyberbullying, and the responsible use of technology.
Create Screen-Free Zones
Establish areas in your home where screens are not allowed, such as the dinner table, bedrooms, and outdoor spaces. This will encourage your children to engage in other activities and spend more time disconnected from screens.
Lead By Example
As we talked about at the top of the page, children learn by example. If you want your children to have a healthy relationship with technology, you need to model that behavior. So, put down your own devices, and spend quality time with your children, engaging in activities that don't involve screens.
Set a Bedtime For Screens
Make sure that screens are turned off at least an hour before bedtime to help your child get a good night's sleep. A lack of sleep can have negative effects on a child's mood, behavior, and overall health.
Encourage Outdoor Play
Spending time outdoors is important for children's physical and mental health. Encourage your children to play outside, explore their environment, and get some exercise.
Use Parental Controls
Most devices have built-in parental controls that allow you to restrict access to certain content or limit screen time. Take advantage of these tools to help your children develop healthy habits and maintain a healthy balance between screen time and other activities.
Screen time can be a great tool for learning and entertainment, but it's all about balance. By making screen time a family affair, encouraging healthy habits, and finding creative, engaging activities, you can help your children develop a healthy relationship with technology that will serve them well now and in the future.
Free Practical Tools
FAMILY MEDIA PLAN
Make your own set of rules and guidelines to manage screen time and promote responsible media use in your family. Be sure to ensure there is input and accountability from all family members.
Screen time budget
Try this tool for managing and limiting the amount of time your child spends on screens. Not only can it help to reduce screen time, but it may also teach children valuable skills such as time management and self-regulation.
screen-free zone poster
Stay connected and present with your family with our Screen-Free Zone Poster. This poster highlights designated areas in your home where screens are not allowed. Writing "No screens allowed in this zone," below the images makes it easy for kids to understand and follow the rules
digital wellness worksheet
Use this worksheet with your family to reflect on your digital habits and identify areas where you would like to improve. By completing it, you can gain a better understanding of you and your family's relationship with screens and be better equipped to make positive changes.
Don't forget to join us at The Great Australian Switch-Off!
We're asking everyone across Australia to switch off all their screens and devices for a whole 24 hours on Sunday December 3rd 2023. Will you join us?
Check Out Our Evidence Based Research Library
We will continue to update our library regularly with evidence based research articles that have been published about the effects of screen time on children. Stay tuned as we continue to expand our database.