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Taking Control of Screen Time

By September 21, 2020April 2nd, 2022Family Therapy, Parenting, Teens/Children
screen time

How to monitor your child’s screen time in the midst of online learning and online social interaction.

The battle between parents and screen time, is nothing new. However with quarantining and online learning, these battles have intensified. After a summer where most sports and summer camps were cancelled and social interaction was still very limited, children spent more hours on screens than parents would normally allow. Now that school is back in session, children and parents are finding the transition to less screen time very difficult.  Nevertheless, too many hours on screen time can have negative effects on children and teens such as increasing aggression in play and with others, poor attention spans, decreased enthusiasm for school, and decrease in physical activity.

When setting limits and boundaries with screen time, there are many aspects to consider for a smoother transition for you and your child:

  • Set firm limits and be prepared to consistently enforce them. If you do not take them seriously, your children will not either. 
  • Make weekday screen time different than weekend screen time. Monitor whether or not this time is interrupting completion of homework and school day routines. 
  • Create a bedtime routine that does not involve screens. Research that those who spend a significant portion of time in front of the screen negatively impact sleep and children tend to go to bed later, take longer to fall asleep, and get fewer hours of sleep. It is recommended turning off screens at least one hour prior to bedtime.
  • Keep screens and devices out of the child’s bedroom. Allow them to view in common areas in order to monitor their viewing.

Make sure you are monitoring screen time and setting a good example.  

  • Programs geared for children can contain more aggression and negative behaviors than we want our children exposed to. It is a good idea to view or research the material children are allowed to watch before showing it to them.
  • Children are very quick learners and can easily out smart us with their technology skills. It is important that we step in and supervise to make sure they are watching what we think they are watching, and that it is developmentally appropriate.
  • Set positive examples for your children. Be aware of your own viewing and phone habits, and evaluate if they are habits you want to model for your children.  We usually do not realize how often we are on our phones. We may take a quick second to scroll through our email, or answer work texts during dinner. Remember, we are our children’s biggest role models and we cannot expect them to follow our boundaries, if we are glued to our phones.
  • Strive for balance. Screen times can be enjoyable and healthy for both you and your children in the appropriate doses. Make sure you are encouraging imaginative play, reading, and physical activity as well so that your children learn healthy habits and can understand that screen time is only one way to spend their free time.

We’re Here To Help

If you or your child are in need of therapy services, we can help!

Reach out to the Family Connections Therapy team today to schedule a counseling session and learn more. We can help you explore new ways to set limits, boundaries and balance the many new challenges that parents face during this time of online learning and socialization.

Book an appointment online or call our office today at (858) 776-8804. We currently offer tele-therapy appointments for couples and are accepting new clients now.