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Seven Tips To Help Limit your Kids' Screen Time

Authored by:
Support.com Tech Pro Team
This Guided Path® was written and reviewed by Support.com’s Tech Pro team. With decades of experience, our Tech Pros are passionate about making technology work for you. We love feedback! Let us know what you think about this Guided Path by rating it at the end.

The impact that modern technology can have on kids’ lives can’t be understated. However, over-consumption of digital media can cause more harm than good, studies have shown.

For many parents, one of the toughest jobs in this digital age is minimizing the harmful effects of technology while using it as tool for education and communication. This involves being proactive and guiding your kids on the appropriate use of technology and making sure they can confide in you when something goes wrong as it occasionally will.

While it’s important for parents to know what new technologies are really adding value to help their kids make the right decisions, many are struggling to keep up with the technological changes. It’s the kids, who in most cases have the expertise needed to navigate the technology landscape while their parents lag. This issue should be addressed; parents must be in the driver’s seat, not the other way around.

Yes, there are downsides to the use of social media and modern devices such as smartphones and tablets. Studies have shown, however, that these tools can be a force for good in children’s cognitive development. In fact, these technologies play important roles in whether or not kids communicate effectively in this globalized world. This article highlights a few ways to help parents manage and make the most of their kids’ screen time.

Child viewing tablet in dark

Limit Screen Time

Children can spend the whole day tapping away on their mobile devices if there’s no system in place to limit screen time. Some kids don’t even participate in family dinner conversations due to the excessive use of technology. If that is the case in your household, it’s OK to put a stop to it.

But how you go about it is critical. Whether is through physical possession or via parental control apps, ensure your kids are on board with the plan. Using force or scolding can quickly escalate into a conflict which may lead to negative outcomes. Try to bring everyone to the table and explain why it’s necessary to cut back on screen time.

Monitor What Your Kids Are Doing Online

Monitoring your kids’ screen time can help prevent them from associating with the wrong company or engaging in activities that may pose risks to their safety. This does not mean you should eavesdrop without consent, instead get to know who your child interacts with online and the activities they engage in. Finally, doing something together with your kids online is a great way to bond and can help stir them in the right direction.

Refrain From Using Mobile Devices While Talking With Your Child

Children copy what their parents do. If you spend most of your time in front of the screen, it’s likely to affect how your kids use technology. If you can, avoid using a smartphone and other handheld devices while chatting with the kids, this helps create healthy and positive behaviors in adolescents. It’ll also help reduce the amount of time your kids spend using technology while promoting face-to-face interaction necessary to build close social relationships among family members.

Promote Digital Literacy

There’ll be a time when your kids will gain access to unfiltered content or devices without parental control, thus it’s important to prepare them for a time like that. Have a conversation with your child about what might transpire while using the internet independently and what to do if something goes wrong.

Help your kids understand that online content is made by human and thus prone to error. Encourage them to think critically about what they read before disseminating the information. Are your kids able to differentiate between trustworthy websites and deceitful ones? Explain to them that the internet is filled with people’s thoughts and opinions, and they can be misleading sometimes.

For older children, be clear about the behaviors you expect and let them know that participating in activities such as cyberbullying and sexting are off-limits. Teach your kids to be cautious and to avoid sharing personal information with strangers online.

Regardless of how smart you think your kids are, always monitor what they do online and with whom. At some point they will make mistakes using digital media; help them learn and grow.

Keep Mobile Devices Out Of The Bedroom

Kids need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night for better cognitive development and to function optimally at school. The use of electronic devices in the bedroom has been linked to sleep disorder and sleep displacement in young and older children. This causes anxiety and can lead kids to make poor decisions, hurting their development and self-esteem. Restricting access to technology in the bedroom fosters good sleeping habits and improves the overall wellness of children.

Be A Role Model For Your Kids

Parents sometimes indulge in pastime activities they don’t want their kids to copy, i.e. gambling online, watching adult movies or playing violent video games when minors are around. Activities like these can have negative effects on children’s psychological and social development. Kids look to their parents for guidance and habits like these do no good for their wellbeing. So, it’s critical for parents to lead by examples. This means creating a positive media environment, putting down mobile devices when having a conversation with your kids and turning off all digital communication systems including the TV before bed.

Employ Technology to Manage Screen Time

There are numbers of apps and online tools that parents can employ to reduce the amount of time their kids spend using digital devices. Most WiFi internet modems and security devices come with parental control features that can help limit children’s screen time. However, the daily use of these tools can become predictable and mundane, be sure to change the settings every now and then.

Also, most video games, laptops, and desktop computers are equipped with software that can shut down the screen when the allotted time is up. Lastly, tech companies such as Google and Apple have various apps that can help parents monitor and manage their kids’ screen time. Some of these apps allow parents to set time out so that devices are automatically turned off.

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The impact that modern technology can have on kids’ lives can’t be understated. However, over-consumption of digital media can cause more harm than good, studies have shown.

For many parents, one of the toughest jobs in this digital age is minimizing the harmful effects of technology while using it as tool for education and communication. This involves being proactive and guiding your kids on the appropriate use of technology and making sure they can confide in you when something goes wrong as it occasionally will.

While it’s important for parents to know what new technologies are really adding value to help their kids make the right decisions, many are struggling to keep up with the technological changes. It’s the kids, who in most cases have the expertise needed to navigate the technology landscape while their parents lag. This issue should be addressed; parents must be in the driver’s seat, not the other way around.

Yes, there are downsides to the use of social media and modern devices such as smartphones and tablets. Studies have shown, however, that these tools can be a force for good in children’s cognitive development. In fact, these technologies play important roles in whether or not kids communicate effectively in this globalized world. This article highlights a few ways to help parents manage and make the most of their kids’ screen time.

Child viewing tablet in dark

Limit Screen Time

Children can spend the whole day tapping away on their mobile devices if there’s no system in place to limit screen time. Some kids don’t even participate in family dinner conversations due to the excessive use of technology. If that is the case in your household, it’s OK to put a stop to it.

But how you go about it is critical. Whether is through physical possession or via parental control apps, ensure your kids are on board with the plan. Using force or scolding can quickly escalate into a conflict which may lead to negative outcomes. Try to bring everyone to the table and explain why it’s necessary to cut back on screen time.

Monitor What Your Kids Are Doing Online

Monitoring your kids’ screen time can help prevent them from associating with the wrong company or engaging in activities that may pose risks to their safety. This does not mean you should eavesdrop without consent, instead get to know who your child interacts with online and the activities they engage in. Finally, doing something together with your kids online is a great way to bond and can help stir them in the right direction.

Refrain From Using Mobile Devices While Talking With Your Child

Children copy what their parents do. If you spend most of your time in front of the screen, it’s likely to affect how your kids use technology. If you can, avoid using a smartphone and other handheld devices while chatting with the kids, this helps create healthy and positive behaviors in adolescents. It’ll also help reduce the amount of time your kids spend using technology while promoting face-to-face interaction necessary to build close social relationships among family members.

Promote Digital Literacy

There’ll be a time when your kids will gain access to unfiltered content or devices without parental control, thus it’s important to prepare them for a time like that. Have a conversation with your child about what might transpire while using the internet independently and what to do if something goes wrong.

Help your kids understand that online content is made by human and thus prone to error. Encourage them to think critically about what they read before disseminating the information. Are your kids able to differentiate between trustworthy websites and deceitful ones? Explain to them that the internet is filled with people’s thoughts and opinions, and they can be misleading sometimes.

For older children, be clear about the behaviors you expect and let them know that participating in activities such as cyberbullying and sexting are off-limits. Teach your kids to be cautious and to avoid sharing personal information with strangers online.

Regardless of how smart you think your kids are, always monitor what they do online and with whom. At some point they will make mistakes using digital media; help them learn and grow.

Keep Mobile Devices Out Of The Bedroom

Kids need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night for better cognitive development and to function optimally at school. The use of electronic devices in the bedroom has been linked to sleep disorder and sleep displacement in young and older children. This causes anxiety and can lead kids to make poor decisions, hurting their development and self-esteem. Restricting access to technology in the bedroom fosters good sleeping habits and improves the overall wellness of children.

Be A Role Model For Your Kids

Parents sometimes indulge in pastime activities they don’t want their kids to copy, i.e. gambling online, watching adult movies or playing violent video games when minors are around. Activities like these can have negative effects on children’s psychological and social development. Kids look to their parents for guidance and habits like these do no good for their wellbeing. So, it’s critical for parents to lead by examples. This means creating a positive media environment, putting down mobile devices when having a conversation with your kids and turning off all digital communication systems including the TV before bed.

Employ Technology to Manage Screen Time

There are numbers of apps and online tools that parents can employ to reduce the amount of time their kids spend using digital devices. Most WiFi internet modems and security devices come with parental control features that can help limit children’s screen time. However, the daily use of these tools can become predictable and mundane, be sure to change the settings every now and then.

Also, most video games, laptops, and desktop computers are equipped with software that can shut down the screen when the allotted time is up. Lastly, tech companies such as Google and Apple have various apps that can help parents monitor and manage their kids’ screen time. Some of these apps allow parents to set time out so that devices are automatically turned off.