Prevent Summer Cyberbullying by Limiting Screen Time

7 ways to limit screen time and promote healthy living this summer


Sitting for too long in front of a computer or video game is not a healthy way to spend the summer months. Aside from the fact that being sedentary can lead to obesity and other health problems, it also puts your child at greater risk for cyberbullying.

By limiting screen time, you not only help your kids find alternative ways to spend their free time this summer, but you also protect them from experiencing mean girl behavior, engaging in rumors and gossip and posting too many selfies online.

Additionally, kids who are allowed too much screen time are more likely to become cyberbullies because of the boredom that sets in from too much time in front of the screen. Implement the following suggestions to make your child’s summer cyberbullying free.

Monitor your own screen time. Remember, if you want your kids to spend less time in front of the screen, you need to begin by being a good role model. How you spend your time during the summer months sends a powerful message to your kids. If you check social media non-stop, keep the television on just for noise or spend long hours in front of the computer, it is going to be much harder to enforce rules about your child’s screen time. So make adjustments in your social media use and screen time before setting limits for your kids.

Discuss the risks. Before you lay down the law about screen time during the summer months, have a discussion with your kids about the risks.

Aside from the fact that using technology non-stop is unhealthy, it also increases their risk of cyberbullying and other negative online experiences. Be sure to discuss things like online predators, digital etiquette, the risk of bullying on the Xbox and other related risks. Additionally, sedentary lifestyles can lead to weight gain and other health issues.

Remember if your kids have a good understanding about the risks of too much screen time, they are less likely to try and break the rules.

Give your kids chores. Many times, kids opt for technology because they truly do not have enough things to do to fill their 14-hour days. As a result, it is a good idea to a make a list of age-appropriate chores that need to be completed each day during the summer. Be sure to include simple everyday tasks like making their beds, emptying the dishwasher and sweeping under the table after dinner along with bigger weekly or monthly chores like cleaning the bathroom, organizing their closet or helping with lawn work.

Encourage summer reading. Having your kids read during the summer is one of the best ways for them to spend their free time. Not only does it help them avoid slipping a grade level in reading, but it also demonstrates that there are other ways to find entertainment rather than in front of a computer or television screen. Be sure to take them to the library or bookstore so that they can gather reading material that they find interesting.

Provide alternatives. Keeping your kids active during the summer with sports, the pool, art classes, music and more can reduce the risk of too much screen time. Not only does this demonstrate that there is more to life than status updates on Instagram, but it also keeps them healthy and active. It also gives them the chance to develop friendships, which goes a long way in bullying prevention.

Make screens off-limits certain times a day. For instance, establish a quiet time each day where technology and televisions are turned off. Some families find that the time block between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. works best. During this time, your kids can read, do something active, help with dinner, or any number of other activities. The important thing is that it is a large chunk of time without technology. It is also a good idea to set a time during the evening when technology needs to be powered down. Additionally, it is usually a good rule of thumb to keep smartphones, computers and televisions out of the bedroom.

Be flexible. Remember, the guidelines you establish at home do not have to be set in stone. After a long, hot day at camp or the pool, it might be beneficial for your child to rest on the couch in front of a movie or to unwind with a favorite video game. Additionally, when you are traveling this summer, it is often helpful to allow extra screen time so that the time passes faster. Additionally, work with your child on determining what times each day should be screen-free time. Giving your child some control in the decisions about screen time means that he will be more likely to follow your guidelines.

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