Day 10: Regulating Screen Time Use

Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen a group (family or friends) out to dinner, table silent, each person looking down, scrolling through content on a handheld screen.

Now raise your hand if you’ve ever been a member of such a group with either family or friends. Yeah… me too… and I’m not exactly proud of it. It all started when the first television set popped up inside our living rooms. Next came the video game. Pretty soon, we had cable TV and VCRs.

Enter the age of personal computers. Internet. DVRs. Wireless connections. iPhones. Android. iPads. A screen in every pocket. It’s amazing how far we’ve come!

They say all magic comes with a price. This includes technological magic. The average Canadian child (2-12 years) consumes more than 3 hours of screen-based entertainment each day. Canadian youth consume an average of just over 4 hours each day.

Enter COVID-19 and the need to physically distance and socially isolate. As a result of this pandemic and changes in how we connect and interact, many children and families, have seen their daily screen time increase exponentially.

How can we help children digitally detox and get ready to go back to school?

The key is to regulate screen time and ensure a just-right balance between time spent using these devices and time spent in independent activity and outdoor experiences with nature. A growing body craves copious physical activity.

While a frustrated parent may wish to resort to pulling the plug on all electronics within a home, as much as possible, it is recommended that parents strive to use the tools of cooperation and respect first. One of the best ways to do this if for children and youth to see for themselves the consequences of too much time online and make a decision for themselves to bring more balance into their lives.

The following tips provide some initial strategies on ways to regulate the amount of screen time in preparation for school.

Do you have strategies that work to regulate screen time in your house? Please consider sharing those strategies in the comments section below.

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