Given the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, screen time has drastically increased for almost all of us. This includes children as well, since school is now being held online. Screen time now can be used to both educate and entertain children. Hence, it is essential that parents help manage kids’ screen time. Psychologist Kanika Shah of Nimai Healthcare lists a few tips in this video.
How much screen time is too much?
While increased screen time has become an unavoidable requirement and a common occurrence, some indicators might suggest that a child needs a break from the screen. For instance when there might be complaints of a headache, irritation in the eyes, back or neck pain, reduced attention span, irritability. Disturbances in their sleep cycle are also important to notice as this can strongly impact their day-to-day routine.
What parents can do to help manage kids’ screen time?
It’s important to ensure that kids take a timeout away from screens. This gives them time to disconnect from the virtual space and connect with the real world. Here are a few things that parents can do.
- Plan leisure time in a way that includes activities not involving screen time
Parents can encourage kids to spend time reading, taking part in art and craft work and solving puzzles. They can also motivate them to
participate in chores around the house.
- Budget time spent doing/watching different things on screen
Parents need to keep track of the time their kids spend on online activities including gaming, video calling friends, etc, because the context of screen time does impact well-being. They should also ensure that the information accessed is from reliable sources.
- Be flexible with limits on screen time
Screen time limits will have to be more flexible not rigid. It can be planned taking into account the child’s temperament as well; for instance if your child is worried or agitated on a particular day, news related or over stimulating content could be avoided.
- Discuss with children about the content they are consuming
Take your child’s opinion and preferences into account. Taking an interest in how they’d like to spend time can also help.