In moderation, TV, computer games and online activities can be fun and educational. But if you’re worried about your child’s screen time, here are some tips for encouraging healthy technology use.
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests too much screen time is becoming a hazard to our children’s eyes, general health and to their social skills. Too much screen time can also make it harder for your child to get to sleep and to concentrate on their schoolwork.
Tips for healthy technology use for your child:
- Try to set reasonable limits on technology use according to your child’s age and agree on times of the day (or days of the week) that will be technology free.
- Encourage your child to take regular breaks from the screen.
- Find activities your child enjoys doing that are not screen based, and encourage them to do them regularly—go to the local park, play sport or music, or help you cook. When they’re having fun, screen time will suddenly become a lot less attractive.
- Try to keep technology out of your child’s bedroom and, where possible, make sure phones, TVs and computers are kept where you can keep an eye on their use.
- Encourage your child to turn off all screens about an hour before bedtime. Research shows that using these items too close to bedtime makes it harder to fall asleep.
- If your child wears glasses, check with their optometrist about suitability for screen use.
- Don’t let your child put the screen too close to their eyes, especially for long periods of time.
- Set up computer workspaces properly, including a chair that encourages good posture.
- Set a good example. Your child is more likely to take time off from their own screens if they see you doing the same.