Encouraging Healthy Screen Time Habits

Newsletter Jun 30, 2023

Sammy’s parents are starting to get a little worried. Not because Sammy is doing badly in school or falling behind on his studies. But because Sammy comes home every day at 4PM from school and after completing his homework and daily questions, he picks up his phone and starts playing games with his friends. Sammy has stopped going outside to play.

Phones and digital devices offer a captivating array of entertainment, communication, and information at children’s fingertips. They provide instant gratification, engaging apps, and social connections that can be highly appealing. The convenience and immersive nature of these devices make them hard to resist for children seeking entertainment.

Although technology can be useful, too much screen time can be harmful to kids’ physical and mental health. Long-term phone use can result in sedentary behaviour, bad posture, and insufficient exercise. Additionally, it may affect sleep patterns and concentration. Finding a balance between productive screentime, non-productive screentime and no screentime is crucial. Too much can harm cognitive development and academic performance but too little can also lead to poor social skills and stunted technological literacy.

Also Read: At what age should your child have a smartphone?

Encouraging children to balance screen time with other activities is crucial for their holistic development. While screen time should be divided into time spent learning and time spent playing, engaging in non-screen-based activities is important. Children should take part in outdoor play, reading books, pursuing hobbies, engaging in creative arts, and spending quality time with family and friends. All this helps provide valuable experiences, promote social interactions, and foster a well-rounded childhood.

How to Find the Right Balance of Screen Time for Your Child:

  • Set Clear Boundaries

Establish clear guidelines and communicate them effectively with your child. Set limits on screen time duration and specify when and where devices can be used. For example, if your child spends 30 minutes learning something new on their phone daily, then they can spend another 30 minutes playing their favourite game. Consistency is key in helping children understand and adhere to these boundaries.

  • Prioritize Quality Content

Encourage your child to engage in educational and age-appropriate content when using screens. Encourage them to explore educational apps, interactive learning platforms, and engaging digital resources that promote skill development and knowledge acquisition. BrainGymJr is one such App that makes learning a fun game for children and enables productive use of screen time!

  • Create Tech-Free Zones:

Set aside particular areas of your home, like the dining room table or bedrooms, where screens are not permitted. Establishing tech-free areas encourages face-to-face communication, family interaction, and guarantees set aside time for other activities. For example, use the face-to-face time to discuss the latest thing watched, played or learned on the devices but without them.

  • Lead by Example

By using devices responsibly, you can set an example for good screen-time behaviour. When spending time with your child, be conscious of your own screen time and take part in alternative activities. Make sure they understand the value of combining technology with other meaningful activities. For example, if you use YouTube for recipe videos, encourage your child to use YouTube to learn a new science experiment at home.

  • Encourage Diverse Activities

Give your child a wide range of engaging activities to try. Encourage participation in reading, music, art, sports, and other extracurricular activities. Helping them discover their passions and interests away from the screen will promote a balanced and happy childhood. In fact, screen time can be used to fuel knowledge and skill in these activities of their choice! For example, learning techniques of a specific sport and trying it.

Here are 15 Fun and Educational Activities to Keep Children Entertained at Home

In today’s digital age, encouraging healthy screen time behaviours is essential. We can help our kids have a healthier and more fulfilling childhood by understanding the allure of phones, realising the negative effects of excessive screen time, exploring alternatives, and putting practical strategies into practise to find the right balance. Always keep in mind that finding the right amount of screen time allows kids to benefit from technology while also enjoying the joys of the real world. Let’s give our kids the tools they need to responsibly navigate the digital world and appreciate the wonders of both the real world and the digital one.

The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.
Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft



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