Although television and internet can be a resources for educational material, too much screen time can have unhealthy side effects and compete with active playtime. Therefore, it is important to monitor and limit the time your child spends playing video games, watching TV, and sitting in front of the computer. Follow these useful tips to help your children move away from the screen!
Tips for limiting TV:
- If you use the TV for background noise, turn it off and play music instead.
- Limit screen time to less than 2 hours a day.
- Encourage children to do something other than watch TV in your main television room. Make sure to have non-screen entertainment such as books, magazines, toys, puzzles, board games, coloring books, etc. readily available.
- Keep TVs and computers out of a child’s bedroom.
- Turn off the TV during meal times and while doing homework.
- Create a family-time TV schedule. Agree as a family what shows to watch and when the TV can be on. Place this schedule where everyone can see it.
- Try turning off the TV on weekdays. Record weekday shows and watch them as a family on the weekend.
- Use screening tools to block TV programs and movies you don’t want your children to see.
- Offer alternatives to television, like playing a game outside, going on a walk, visiting a park, playing hide and seek, or playing a board game. Enjoy quality time with your family without the television.
- Look at the ratings on video games before you purchase them for your child. Read reviews and preview games first to ensure they aren’t too graphic, violent or inappropriate.
Tips for limiting internet:
- Become familiar with the webpages that attract your children such as: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Learn how to block objectionable material.
- Spend time online together and teach your child about appropriate online behavior.
- Share an email account with your younger children to monitor who is sending them messages.
- Bookmark your child’s favorite sites, this way they are less likely to make a typo and land on an inappropriate site.
- Keep the computer in a common area that way you can watch and monitor what your children is viewing.