Child, Parenting

Screen time: seven parenting tips for conscious electronics use

Screen time: seven parenting tips for conscious electronics use

In the media and technology age, the right amount of screen time has become a dominant parenting issue.  By teaching parents how to deal with new media, they protect their children from the health effects of excessive media use. In particular, by consciously using electronics and limiting daily screen time. What exactly helps to detach children from the screen? And what if the parents are addicted to cell phones?

Away from the screen: How it can succeed

With the digital transformation, digitality permeates every area of life. As a result, the proper use of digital media today affects all families without exception. In particular, the question of how much screen time is safe. This question in particular can hardly be answered in a general way. The personality and interests of the children are just as decisive as the type of use. Although media addiction can be a serious problem, most children don’t get quite that far. As long as social contacts and interests are still pursued in the real world, media use is usually within the normal range. Still, families often have disputes about screen time. Tips like the following make it easier for kids to move away from their electronics.

1. create out of reach

Since schools have increasingly turned to e-learning, children have needed electronic devices like laptops and tablets almost every day. But not for the entire day. If they are not needed at the time, parents should put the electronics away and store them in cabinets, for example. By storing cell phones and tablets in protective cases with display covers, for example, the temptation to automatically reach for them is also reduced. Ideally, devices such as televisions, computers and game consoles should never be in the children’s room, but in common areas. This helps to maintain a better overview of usage habits.

2. set clear limits

For young people in particular, it is part of healthy development to explore boundaries – also with regard to screen time. Therefore, it must be clearly agreed and communicated how long, for example, videos may be watched and apps used. If games are played, for example, the number of rounds can be limited. Limits focused solely on time can cause frustration here. It’s also best for parents to set a framework for the time of use. After homework, for example. This ritualizes media use and makes it more controllable. The best time window is between the end of school and dinner. The later the screen use, the more likely sleep disturbances are.

3. together in front of the screen

Ideally, parents know exactly what their children are doing on the screen. This ensures that the content is age-appropriate. Interest and understanding are also the basis for a good relationship and enable open communication. Watching their favorite YouTube videos or picking up the game controller together with their offspring is a sign of goodwill. This lets children know that their parents do not fundamentally reject digital media and want to understand their world. Involved parents are also better able to assess which time slots are appropriate for what.

4. consciously select content

Computers and tablets can support many activities that parents also find useful. For example, if children are using apps to develop their skills, their screen time is used more wisely and actively than if they concentrate on social media or streaming services. As far as games are concerned, it’s best to agree on those that benefit the child’s development. For example, by creating their own worlds.

5. act as a role model

Numerous guardians barely move away from the screens of their smartphones and tablets themselves. To teach children how to use media consciously, they need to limit their own screen time. Especially when spending time with their offspring, at mealtime and just before bedtime, parents should put down their digital devices in order to act as an authentic role model.

6. encourage other hobbies

Actively supporting their children’s recreational activities helps parents increase their interest in real-world actions. Whether it’s playing board games together, going to the soccer field or doing arts and crafts, it doesn’t matter. Ideally, the weekly program should be so full and varied that the offspring hardly have any time for the screen. On the other hand, be careful when trying to offer screen time as a reward for other things. If you get an hour of social networking for an hour of homework, you’ll think media time is all the more important.

7 Enabling social contact

Few things are more important for a child’s development than interaction with peers. When parents invite other children to join them, their children’s need for digital media often decreases automatically. This is even more true if outdoor activities can be organized together with other parents. The more adventurous, the better.



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