Experts recommend that you should not let your kids have more than 2 hours of screen time every day. However, some kids do spend even more than 8 hours every day staring on one form of a screen or even Virtual Reality screens.
Yes, you know that your kids need to have less screen time, but you don’t know how to make them stop being slaves to these screens. As a parent, you should understand that it is your responsibility to set healthy screen time limits. Even though it might not be that easy, it is important for your kid’s health and well-being.
What Is The Recommended Screen Time Per Age?
As your kids age, they need to have more and more screen time available for them. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t limit screen time. There should be certain limitations for screen time, which you should relax gradually. Let’s look at the recommended screen time by age.
Newborns to 18 months old
Kids younger than 18 months should never be exposed to digital media on a daily basis. This assists in preventing the stimulation caused by digital media. Screens have too much noise and light, which can cause your kid to experience distress or even have trouble in sleeping when you expose them to screen time when they are young.
In addition, it is important to know that screen time can delay brain development for kids at this age. The only thing that digital media can do to your kid is to slow down their brain development. Also, it can even cause some behavioral issues, which is something you would like your kid to go through. Even though it can be a challenge to limit screen time for your kid entirely, you should make sure that it is not part of their routine until the kid attains 18 months.
2 – 5 years
Children between the ages of 2 to 5 years should only have one hour of screen time every day. Rather, you should emphasize outdoor and creative play. You should use screen time when you need a break or as a reward for the kid.
However, you need to be careful with that you watch during screen time with your kid. Your kid will have a hard time in comprehending and deciphering adverts. In addition, they don’t understand the difference between fictional and real characters. Therefore, you should make sure that you stick to educational programs designed for kids at this age. When you watch the educational videos with your kid, make sure that you ask what she or he has learned.
6 to 18 years
There is not defined screen time limit for kids above the age of 6. However, you should always make them concentrate on productive activities, like educational activities, physical activities, restful activities, and social activities.
There should always be a structure for the time they spend on screens. For instance, some parents have prohibited screen-based entertainment during school days to allow their kids to concentrate on school work as well as other productive activities. Others usually allow a set amount of screen time during weekdays and weekends.
However, it is always advisable to emphasize productive screen activities rather than entertainment activities for kids in this age bracket.
Five Apps That Will Help You Limit Screen Time For Your Kids
Parental control apps assist parents to monitor and manage screen time for their kids effectively. This is very important, especially at the time when every kid has access to smartphones, tablets, and even TVs. These are very valuable gadgets for kids as they assist them to learn, but they have their downside since kids can easily get hooked to these gadgets, thus affecting their performance in class. That’s the reason why parents need to control screen time for their kids since it’s a very important step towards protecting the kid’s health and improving their happiness. The following are 5 parental apps that will help you limit screen time of your kids
Boomerang Parental Control
This is a unique app that allows you to control your non-iOS gadgets remotely. You can also access this app on the iOS platform, but it comes with some limitations. The application has a 14-day trial, and once the trial period is over, you can subscribe to different packages like Single Device License – for one device or Family Pack – which supports up to 10 devices.
This app has powerful features, including location tracking, monitoring text messages, call blocking, and safe internet surfing. The app will definitely give you a good value for your money.
Parental Control And Kid Tracker
This is a screen time control app for parents, which allows them to block apps, track their kids, and manage their kid’s screen time using the family locator. This family locator also allows them to locate their family members. This app allows you to monitor the applications installed on your kid’s device. In addition, you can block certain apps or even set different riles for the educational apps installed on these devices. The app also allows you to block social media platforms installed on these devices.
Screen Time Parental Control
This app, which is available on both Android and iOS platforms, allows to manage the time your children spend on their smartphones and tablets. As a parent, you can encourage positive behavior by setting tasks for your kids to complete and then award them with extra screen time. The app has a very interesting pause feature, which allows you to pause the kid’s device whenever you don’t want them to be using it. In addition, you can block any apps that you don’t want your kids to access and also restrict certain activities during class hours.
ESET Parental Control
This a more comprehensive parental control app that is very effective when it comes to keeping your kids safe online. It has age-based filters that assists you to manage the apps your kids can access depending on their age. In addition, the app assists you to block websites and website categories that are not appropriate for your kid. Furthermore, you can determine the time limit for games and apps that you have allowed your kid to use.
Norton Family Parental Control
Norton Family Parental Control is ideal for families with several kids, and it can protect up to 10 devices. It allows age-appropriate setting for every gadget, web filtering as well as location tracking. The app comes with a wide range of parental monitoring and
control features, which every parent needs for today’s super connected kids. The app will let you know the sites your children are visiting, and it blocks the inappropriate or harmful sites. In addition, you can schedule screen time limits for your kids by scheduling specific times during the week or day and how many hours your kid can spend on their device every day.
Tips for Setting Clear Guidelines about Screen Time
One of the best ways to limit screen time for your kids is to teach your kids to play. However, as a parent, you need to set on-the-ground strategies that will assist you to achieve the balance. At the end of the day, every parent desires their kids to grow up, as well as create a healthy balance for themselves. However, many kids will need some guidance for this to happen.
This is not a simple thing to do since there are no universal rules that are appropriate for a year old kids and teenager. These rules should be set according to the kid’s age, and they should be rethought often as the kids continue to grow and as the technology changes. There are few tips for setting clear guidelines about screen time:
- Be the example – always be careful with how you use your gadgets, especially when your kids are around. Adults should not have the same rules like their kids. However, you need to follow the screen time rules you have set for your kids. Be very careful when it comes to multi-tasking with screens when you are with your kids.
- Set specific days when screens should be off-limits – this can be until the kids finish homework or when they have visitors around or even after dinner. This assists your kids to understand they are not supposed to use electronics at certain times. School days and holidays are different, and you should consider setting different rules for every time.
- Don’t allow screens everywhere – you can set some rules about the dinner table or even when you don’t want your kids to use their devices without supervision. This assists in sending the signal that screens should not be a burden in their lives.
- Always monitor what your kids are doing on those screens – as your kids grow older, they will always want to know more. However, you need to understand the technology if you want to understand what your kids are doing. So, you should always know whether the device your kids are using has parental controls. Also, you can install certain apps to assist you monitor your kid’s activities on the screens.
- Encourage variety – even though you might want to limit screen time, it is important to ensure that your kids are not obsessed over one activity or social media platform or spending their entire day watching the television.
- Always advice your kids – be open about the concerns you have, and why you want to set those rules. When your kids understand the reasons you have concerns, they will know how to regulate their screen time. In addition, you should make your kids aware about the negative effects of the internet and electronics before they even encounter them. When you address some of these issues, the kids will find it easier to approach you in case they encounter the issues down the line.
- Be observant – whatever guidelines or rules you set, make sure that you stick to them. It’s challenging for parents to enforce some of these rules. However, it can be much easier if you become consistent.
- Be flexible – as your kids grow, so does the technology. Therefore, you should be ready to set new rules or change the existing ones. However, you should have a guiding principle of balance when readjusting the rules.
Here Are Tips to Limit the Screen Time of Your Kids
Encourage a Healthy Use of the Electronics in Your House
It is important to encourage your kids to use the electronics in your house in a more responsible and healthy manner. Therefore, before you sit down and watch your favorite TV show, don’t forget to set that good example. Keeping your TV on whenever it is not in use or even using your phone whenever you have some spare time teaches your kids bad habits.
Teach Yourself about Electronics
As technology grows, our kids continue to become tech-savvy. It might not be surprising to realize that most kids are more familiar with electronics than their parents are. Therefore, parents should always ensure that they are up-to-date with the latest phone apps or even the newest craze on social media.
You cannot teach your kid about the risks or a certain app or social media if you don’t understand the risks yourself. In addition, you cannot stop them from playing those violent games unless you understand their ratings. This shows the importance of learning more about electronics and how they can affect your kids.
Do Not Allow Electronics Everywhere
Make sure that you set zones in your home where you do not allow any form of electronics like laptops and smartphones. For instance, you can set the dining area to be a technology-free area, which is reserved for family conversations and meals.
Use Parental Controls
It is important to protect your kids from inappropriate and explicit online and TV content. With parental controls, you can monitor and control whatever your kids are doing online and watching on TV.
Make Screen Time to Be a Privilege
Your kid should not that screen time is not his or her right, but a privilege. Therefore, you should withdraw privileges like a computer or TV use whenever your kid misbehaves. Whenever you have set a screen time limit for your kid, never allow them to have an extra screen time as a reward. Rather, stick to the set screen time and give them other rewards.