It’s not easy being a parent today. Not only are we bombarded with information about how we should or shouldn’t parent our kids, we now also have to learn about and deal with the issues of technology.
For some of us this is an alien subject; How much screen time is right? How to understand new gaming technology; Dealing with the world of social media; and How to get our children off the screen, to name a few topics.
There has been quite a bit of media attention given to this subject in the last few years and you may be feeling confused and unsure about your child’s relationship with technology and screen time. If so, then take a look at the ’10 reasons why we should manage our kids screen time’ below:
10 REASONS WHY WE SHOULD BE MANAGING OUR KIDS SCREEN TIME
Is your child in the red zone?:
- Peer replacement: Do you feel that your kids use video games as a substitute for friends or spend more time in front of a screen than being with other kids?
- Addiction: Do you feel that your children replace other forms of entertainment with screen time? Have they started to show less interest in sports activities or have they started “faking” reasons why they cannot take part in out of school activities? Are they no longer interested in things they liked before e.g. reading, Lego, cars, dolls, drawing, art, skateboarding, baking etc? When your kid’s time on screens is restricted do they go through “video game withdrawal”? This is such a concern of the American Psychological Association that members are hotly debating whether video game addiction should be labelled a mental health disorder.
- Aggression and Behaviour issues: Do you feel that your kids flare up if restricted from playing/watching or going on any screen and do they start calling you names and acting up, or becoming more impulsive or aggressive after playing?
- Less caring nature: Do they display less concern, care or empathy towards others than they used to?
- Effect on school work: Have homework battles increased and/or grades or test scores decreased?
- Trouble falling asleep or staying awake until late: Flashing images and aggressive content activate the brain and can cause sleeplessness!
- Depression: Do you feel that your child is showing signs of sadness, emotional mood swings, often crying or suddenly withdrawing from you and family life?
- Couch potato: Is your child having too sedentary a lifestyle, doing limited exercise, gaining weight or losing weight due to lack of appetite?
- Credit cards: Does your credit card show unexplained charges? Online gaming networks charge to play; video games are easily purchased online using a parent’s credit card.
- You are tired and frustrated by it all: If you feel that your kids are spending too much time on a screen or playing or watching the wrong things, then there is something wrong. Use your instinct and don’t be afraid to act on it.
Use your instinct. Pull the plug!
If you think your child is in the red zone then it’s never too late to teach your children, no matter what age they are, to balance screen time and ‘everyday life’.
Remember – the correct attitude towards a child’s behaviour should always be this: “I love you too much to let you behave and act like that.” So don’t be afraid to set new screen rules, stick to them and dare to use consequences if they break them.