Parents everywhere are becoming more and more aware of the effect that excessive amount of screen time have on their children. You want to ensure that your children are healthy and happy, and letting them watch TV, play video games or otherwise spend a lot of time using screens, you could be negatively affecting both their health and their happiness. Research has shown that too much screen time can negatively affect your children’s sleep, performance in school, behavior and overall health.
This information is a little scary, but there is no reason that you can’t prevent the harmful effects of screen time from happening to your children. There are some steps you can take to limit your children’s screen time while still giving them access. Here are four ways that you can better monitor your children’s screen time.
Install a Media Time Manager App
Most new smartphones, tablets and other mobile media devices will have the ability to get a time media manager app. These apps allow you to know how much time your children spend on the device and set limits that lock them out when the time limit is up. Some apps even make it fun for your children, giving them rewards for using less than the allowed amount of time on the device each day. This is a great way to be sure that your children are not using their screens too much, even when you are not looking.
Set Time Limits on other Devices
In addition to your time media manager app, a lot of other devices will allow you to set time limits for your children. Many models of TVs and game consoles will allow you to set a limit when your children start playing or watching. When the time is up, you need to be firm in your decision and not allow them to use the screen any more until the next allowed time. You can even put the screen away in a spot that doesn’t allow your children to see it easily, so they won’t constantly be thinking about their screen time limit.
Use the Parental Settings Options
If timers are not working well for you or your children, you can try the parental settings on your devices to at least ensure that your children are only doing activities that you approve of when they are using screens. You can use http://www.direct2tv.com/ to pick and choose which channels and shows your children watch on TV, so you know that they are only watching educational programs. This is a great way to make the screen time a pleasant experience for everyone.
Provide and Encourage Alternative Activities
Setting limits is not enough to keep your kids happy and teach them appropriate use of technology. After their screen time is up, it is your job to make sure that they have a productive activity to go to next. Have some options set up and ready to go when screen time is over. If you find good options, your children may even want to skip screen time on occasion.