The Importance of Limiting Screen Time

Yes, I realize the irony of me writing about limiting screen time, and then distributing it out onto social media platforms.  However, that is where we are at today.  Our lives have changed, and so is the way we communicate and keep in touch with one another.  Social media is the new handwritten letter to your long-distance friend.  Our phones are now how we not only communicate socially, but how we check our emails for work.  They act as our cameras too, so even when we want to disconnect, we have them close in case a photo op arises.  We play games, get our news, find recipes, and even read books on our phones and tablets.  There is almost no escape from the screen.

Many of us didn’t grow up with this sort of technology infiltrating every aspect of our lives.  When I was little, we had a house phone.  We had a desk top computer with access to the World Wide Web.  But the technology was confined to those two places.  We couldn’t use the phone away from the house, and we couldn’t take the computer to our rooms.  Children’s programs were on TV in the mornings, and that was it.  When we left the house we were free from screens.  We played outside, used our imaginations, talked to friends, had pen-pals, explored our surroundings, and had a great time.

Today, our children are growing up with technology everywhere!  They have access to 24/7 entertainment, news and social media. There are even TV channels that have children’s programs on 24/7.  And this constant stream of endless entertainment is one reason we need to limit screen time for our kids, as well as for ourselves.

Limiting Your Kid’s Screen Time

Why is it important to limit a child’s time in front of screens?

-Screen time can inhibit a child’s creativity and imagination.

-Social and emotional development can be stunted by excessive screen time.

-Large and fine motor skills are not being developed during screen time.

-Quality of sleep can be affected by excessive or late-night screen time.


How To Set Limits:

-Set certain times of the day when your child knows they may have screen time. (ie: in the morning before school, after school, rest time)

-Set a time limit for these time blocks.  Make sure your child is getting no more than 2 hours of screen time per day (depending on their age)

-Be consistent.  Once you set the rules and limits, stick with them every day.  Your child will learn to stay within them as long as you are consistent.


Limiting YOUR Screen Time

Why is it important to limit YOURSELF?

-Your kids learn from what you do. If you are always on your phone, they will be too.

-Interaction is a big part of your child’s development; teach them to socialize and interact with people face to face.

-Be more present in your life and the world around you.  Appreciate and explore with your child.

-Critical thinking skills can be diminished with excessive screen time.

-Too much screen time and not enough real-world personal interaction can lead to depression.

-Quality of sleep can be affected by excessive or late-night screen time.


Setting Limits In Your Home:

-Set certain times when you are allowed access to your devices (when your kid naps, or after they sleep, or during certain working hours).

-If you work from home, keep your work confined in your home office or at your desk.  Don’t be working from your phgone or tablet when you are with the rest of your family.

-Put your phone down.  Take your phone out of your pocket and just leave it on the counter somewhere.  If it’s not physically on you, you won’t be tempted to check it every time it buzzes with a notification, or when you think you’re bored.

-Don’t allow media at the table.  Talk to your family instead of looking at a screen.

-Say goodnight.  Set a goodnight time for your phone, TV and tablet.  Shutting off screens at least an hour before you go to bed will help you to sleep better.

-Be consistent.  You may be very used to viewing your screen whenever you want, but it’s good to set limits.  Be strict with yourself, be consistent in following the limits you set, and soon it will become routine.