10 Ways to Limit Your Child's Screen Time

Make Your Expectations Clear About TV, Cell Phones, Computers and Video Games

Limit your child's screen time.
moodboard / Cultura / Getty Images

Although unlimited time with electronics may keep your child quiet, too much screen time isn't good for kids. But setting limits on how much TV your child watches or how many video games he plays isn't always easy in today's screen-filled world. 

Here are 10 tips that will help you limit your child's screen time to a reasonable, healthy amount.

1. Model Healthy Electronic Use

It’s important to role model the behavior you want to see from your kids.

So before you binge watch your favorite Netflix series, remember that it's important to set a good example. Keeping the TV on for background noise all the time or scrolling through your phone any time you have a spare minute teaches your child bad habits.

2. Educate Yourself on Electronics

Today’s kids are technologically savvy. Most of them know more about electronics than adults do. that's why it's essential for you to stay up-to-date on the latest cell phone app or the newest social media craze.

You can't teach your child about the dangers of social networking, unless you know what the dangers are. And you can't prevent him from playing violent video games if you don't understand the rating. Make it a priority to learn about electronics and how they're affecting children.

3. Create “Technology-Free Zones”

Establish zones in your house where you just don’t allow electronics, like smartphones and laptops.

For example, the dining room can be a great technology-free zone that is reserved for meals and family conversation.

4. Set Aside Times to Unplug

Set aside times for the entire family to become unplugged from technological devices. For example, the dinner hour or an hour before bedtime can be great times for the entire family to have quality time together without TV, video games and computers.

5. Use Parental Controls

Protect kids from explicit content on TV and online. Use parental controls that allow you to monitor what your children are viewing on TV and what they’re doing online.

6. Talk to Kids About the Dangers

It’s important for kids to have a good understanding about the risks of too much screen time. Kids who understand, “It’s not healthy to watch too much TV,” are less likely to try and break the rules compared to kids who think, “I can't watch TV because my parents are mean.”

In an age appropriate manner, explain how violent video games, movies and images can be harmful to kids. Also, discuss potential dangers of online predators. Discuss how you can work together as a family to reduce potential risks.

7. Obtain Your Child’s Passwords

Depending on your child’s age and your values, it may make sense to obtain your child’s passwords to any social media accounts or online accounts. It can also be important to establish rules about social media and what services you’ll allow your child to participate in.

Many children lack the maturity needed to handle online problems, such as cyberbullying. It’s important  to really take responsibility for helping your child stay safe if he's using social media.

8. Encourage Other Activities

Kids easily grow dependent on technology for entertainment. Encourage your children to become involved with other activities and to develop other interests outside of video games and social media.

9. Use Screen Time as a Privilege

Screen time should be a privilege and not a right. Take away privileges, such as TV time or computer use, as a negative consequence. Once you’ve set a limit on how much screen time is allowed, don’t allow kids to earn extra time as a reward. Instead, stick to the daily limit and offer other free or low cost rewards.

10. Don’t Allow Screen Media in Your Child’s Bedroom

It’s impossible to monitor a child’s screen media use if it’s allowed in the bedroom. Don’t allow your child to have a TV, video game system or computer in his room. This includes hand-held devices that many children use late at night, which can interfere with their sleep.

Continue Reading