Screen time and Internet limits

“Oh, mommy! Please leave me just a little bit longer on the PC! I just want to finish this level!“,screams the little boy, while his sister has immersed for hours on Junior TV” Sweet mommy has just finished all the chores of the house, and just wants some peace of mind. Is it so hard to achieve it?

screen time
Is it always screen time?

It is true that nowadays technology has been proved to be a super nanny for children, whose parents are busy working inside or outside the house. Last week, we met with my daughter’s godmother, who also has two little boys and we went out to eat. Her husband was very strict ;”Now it’s time to eat and chat together, so keep off smartphones and tablets!” The children were surprised to hear this, but instead of chit-chatting with each other, they started hitting each other and fighting over bread and potatoes. My husband then proposed to give his smartphone to our daughter, and of course, the others asked for it, too. And because we really just wanted to eat nice and easy, we surrendered to their persistence….

A recent study showed that smartphones affect the brain’s frontal cortex and boost dopamine levels. That means it is a danger for addiction to the screens. What can we do as parents? How can we protect our children?

There are many different opinions about how many hours should a child watch TV and use the computer. It surely depends on the age; pediatricians recommend that children under 2 years old should NOT watch TV. For children over the age of 2 yo, 1 hour a day is maximum dose. But, is there really a way to convince our children to just switch off the Telly?

Here are some proposals:

-It is very important to make sure that the TV or PC is not in the child’s room, but in a room where he will know that mommy and daddy can watch what he’s doing. And, it goes without saying, that the parents should actually check what their child is watching and if it is suitable for his age.

-We may also check the TV program and make sure that the time of leisure is within hours that Junior TV has suitable shows for our child.The parent should also check if the Tv program mentions values like friendship, co-operation, sincerity rather than having the heroes bulling or mocking others. Also, beware for violence, as many kid’s programmes have lots of it.

-Moreover, there are many programs to monitor what the child is doing on the computer or tablet. Youtube has a parental control option that you can choose to keep your little one out of surprises, and many applications make questions to the user, asking him his age and his parents consent.

-One mistake most of us make, at least I sure do, is to associate the use of television and computer as a reward for doing something right, as well as threaten that the will Not have screen time if they do not behave appropriately. That means, unfortunately, that we make a great fuss about it and value it very much.Psychologists recommend that the punishment should fit the crime and not what the child wants; otherwise, there might be a misunderstanding about what is wrong or right.Doing the house chores is not connected to playing video games.

-A very good approach is to suggest other activities to the child than screen time.Whether the weather is good or rainy, there are many options, as I have mentioned in my previous post “10 fun things to do…” 

What else do YOU think would be useful? Share your ideas within the comments section!