We are raising our children in an age of technology. It is important for limits on screen-time to be in place regarding kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics “urges parents to ban computers and TVs from kids’ bedrooms. They also suggested a 2-hour limit that includes using the internet, social media, smart phones and watching TV or movies, but not online homework.”
For my boys, ages eight and ten, they are allowed one hour of TV during the school week and then can play video games on their tablet on weekends in addition to TV time. I’d like to say that we keep their limits to under two hours on the weekend, but it isn’t always the case, especially on rainy days. I think as long as they take part in other activities like outside play or creative play, extra time on the weekends is probably okay. However, I don’t want to set them up to be dependent on technology or have it impede their social development.
I decided to ask them what they thought about limits on screen time. They both agreed limits are good. Here is what they had to say about using technology excessively:
Eight-year old: “Your brain might get smaller. You won’t know as much and you might not do good in school.”
Ten year-old: “You lose track of time and like five hours could pass, and then your school work would really fall behind.”
My ten-year old went on to describe some of the positives of technology. He thinks video games improve motor skills, and that a multi-player game helps you connect with more friends. He also thinks it would be cool if there were video games in the classroom that could simulate battles. However, he said that viewing violence might make kids act out more. Our sixth grade neighbor also agreed with this. She said when her six-year old brother plays violent games, especially ones with guns, it scares her and it definitely impacts his behavior in a bad way.
They all had amazing insight. My takeaways were that yes, not only are limits important, but it’s also important to regulate the content of what our kids are watching or the video games that they play.
Technology isn’t going away and there are many positives to it. As parents, we must be mindful in helping our kids learn to make technology a healthy part of their lives. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go read People magazine on my iPad.
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent
Murray, Rheana. “Limit kids’ screen time to 2 hours: experts.” nydailynews.com. News and Wire Services. October 28, 2013.