Advice on how to manage screen use for your children

The world in which children live today is no longer the same as it was twenty years ago. An object makes all the difference: the screen. Television, computer, console, smartphone, tablet, etc. are now part of their daily lives.

The contents (games, Internet, …) are addictive, but the screen itself is not neutral. Scientific studies highlight that excessive screen time affects children’s equilibrium: decreased thinking skills, school performance, sleep impairment, emotional instability, increased feelings of insecurity, aggressive behavior, etc. Giving screens their rightful place is a new educational challenge.

Here are some tips to help you.

Tip #1

We must also be cautious about the choice and use of the video games that the child plays – especially since it is recognized that the practice of these games quickly becomes addictive. Let us remember that “the violent image constitutes real violence on the child’s brain. It breaks into their psyches, preventing any distance from what is perceived. The damage is immediate, intense, and can last for a long time: nightmares, various phobias, mood changes, sometimes even hallucinations.”

Tip #2

Let us apply the “4 steps” rule: no screen in the morning; no screen during meals; no screen before falling asleep; no screen in your room. Also, no Internet before 9 years old; from 9 years old: accompanied Internet; from 12 years old: alone, but with strict parental control.

Tip #3

Let us lead the child to understand the reason for our limitations by dialoguing with him/her in love and firmness.

Tip #4

Let us continue his/her education in frustration daily. It will help the child to accept not having everything, not doing everything according to his or her wishes.

Tip #5

Let’s organize with the child a busy schedule of activities (sports, outings with friends, board games, reading, etc.) and get him used to participating in family tasks, depending on his age (cutlery, garbage, dog walking, etc.). It will make it easier to limit the time spent on screens.

Tip #6

Depending on the child’s age, let’s inform him/her of the dangers associated with screens: access to social networks, addiction, violence, pornography, cyberbullying, etc.

Tip #7

Let us remember to compliment from time to time the one who respects them and sanction any outbursts.

Tip #8

Establish and enforce instructions for use according to age, school period, the rhythm of other activities: define navigation schedules, authorize times during the week, set up parental control, prohibit specific apps, etc. Let us look for the right limit: let us avoid laxity as well as an excessive restriction; too much restriction generates frustration that is difficult to bear.

Tip #9

Try to stay close to the child when he or she is on the Internet.

About the Author: Anabel@WAS