How much screen time is healthy for children?
The issue of children and limiting screen time has come about in the last decade, where more parents are using technology as a form of babysitting, educating or entertaining. While I do believe that some screen time aids development, there are some underlying health and psychological issues that need to be addressed. Netvouchercodes recently carried out a survey on over 3,255 parents and found that the overall average time kids spend on their tablets is a surprisingly long 46.8 minutes per day.
Check out this startling infographic below from Netvouchercodes, which also includes advice from various mummy bloggers (including me) regarding tips on kids using tech.
Baby and Toddler Tablet Usage Survey 2017. An infographic by the voucher codes website NetVoucherCodes.co.uk
So, here are some of Motherhood Diaries’ top tips on how to limit screen time for children:
Rule of 10s
My boys must complete a 10-minute chore (helping with the dishwasher, tidying their room etc). The completion of the chore earns them 10 minutes on my phone or tablet (YouTube and YouTube Kids are banned (bar a few channels that I have vetted myself), so they are only allowed to play games). They each have 10 minutes to play and then they must pass on the phone to the brother who is waiting. The ‘Rule of 10s’ means that they must earn the use of the gadget and that their limit is clearly stated in a way that they understand – i.e. 10 minutes
Have a complete ban on YouTube and YouTube Kids (unless you’re watching together or you have selected channels that you have vetted yourself)
While this is a personal choice, I do believe that banning YouTube eliminates the growing issue of disturbing and distorted videos these days, even on YouTube Kids. BBC News brought out a startling article last month about how thousands of popular cartoons are now containing disturbing and inappropriate content that are simply not suitable for children. Rather than having to worry constantly about what my kids are watching on the phone, I’d rather limit that possibility and create a ban on YouTube, except for a few selected channels, which I regularly vet to ensure nothing sinister filters through.
If my children really want to watch something rather than play a game, then I put on a movie or a popular TV series (which I vet first) and we watch it together, so if there is anything untoward, I remove the issue straight away. Plus, I am also aware of how long screen time is and therefore, I can limit it appropriately.
There are tonnes of great educational videos and games now, which I do believe really do aid children’s development. For example, I have no problem watching YouTube Videos (with my children) if I believe that they are educational and fun to watch. Some of my favourite educational YouTube channels for kids are:
- Kids Learning Tube – especially the Mars Song!
- National Geographic Kids – especially the Big Headed Mole Rat!
- Appuseries – Great for younger kids.
- KidsTV123 – My kids have not stopped singing the Shapes Song 2 for three years!
My main issue is, how much screen time is really affecting our children’s eye health? As this growing technology trend is relatively new, I do not think that we are in a time where we can accurately measure the effects of screen time on eye health yet. So, in thirty years, will we see the real results of this average 46.8 minutes a day that our kids spend on screens? Maybe there are no lasting effects, however, I don’t want to risk my babies’ eye health to find out. Better safe than sorry, right? TimeTokens are a great way to limit and track screen time by putting your child in control and letting them use up their TimeTokens that last for a certain period of time. When their TimeTokens are used up, then there is no more screen time until next week!
If you have any top tips on how you limit your screen time with your children, please do let us know in the comments below.
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