In 2020, technology is a large part of all our life’s – and that doesn’t exclude children. As a busy working Mother How Do I Monitor Screen time with my Children?
A certain amount of time on screen (referring to devices, television, and video games) can be useful in learning – yet too much can be damaging.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that too much could negatively affect social skills, health and sleep.
Many wonders about how to limit screen time, and how to monitor it.
We’ll try to outline a couple of methods in this guide.
Screen Time for Kids Recommendation
The AAP recommends no media use for children under 18 months – and from 18 to 24 months it should be very limited and supervised.
From 2-5 years old they recommend about an hour a day.
From there is becomes more so about consistency of time and maintaining physical activity, sleep and other essential behaviours.
It’s important that, whilst screen time as a whole is fine, it is all considered in ‘moderation’ – children need to remain healthy and fit.
Teens, according to a new report by Common Sense Media, are spending on average seven hours and 22 minutes on their phones a day.
Of course, most would consider this out of moderation – and this time does not include schoolwork.
So, as an overview, for most over 6 years old, screen time should always be considered in moderation – keep in mind what time spent on activities such as fitness and reading are being sacrificed.
As a reference point – AAP use 2 hours a day as a guideline with flexibility.
Try changing it from there.
How to Monitor Screen Time?
Keeping in mind, how much time you want to limit your child to – how can this be monitored.
We’ll outline a couple methods.
Set a schedule
A great way to monitor, and make sure your children stick to their limit, is through organising a schedule.
Creating one will make sure that your child’s time is managed effectively – and stop them from spending too much time on screens, rather than doing other things.
For example, it would be relatively easy to on weekdays make the decision that children can’t go on screens past 9 pm for example – and instead read.
Or on weekends, set out a couple hours a day for physical activity.
It’s all about keeping everything in moderation – and flexibility is good because people’s needs change as they get older.
For example, a 16-year old’s schedule might give more leeway for homework and screen time – rather than a 10-year old’s where you would set a clear guideline on when and for how long they can go on media.
It’s a two-way street – make sure you keep your children in mind.
IOS and Android
Another great way to monitor screen time, and perhaps more practical, is through physically limiting it on their devices.
Both IOS and Android have built in systems to do so.
Firstly, for IOS the Screen Time feature offers a report of the length of time spent on the device, as well as specifies on which apps they were on.
So for example you could see the exact amount of time your child was spending on Instagram each day.
It also gives you the ability importantly to set limits if you want to go further than just monitoring.
On Android, Google has a similar tool called Digital Wellbeing App – it can be downloaded from the Play Store and offers very similar abilities for monitoring and limiting screen time.
For most devices, an equivalent app or tool can be found or is on place – so use it to your advantage.
On game consoles such as the Xbox or PlayStation, they also offer similar built-in systems – and you can receive weekly emails for both regarding screen time.
You can also set time limits and playable hours.
Nintendo Switch is very similar as well – as well as most PCS etc.
Knowing how long they are spending on their device allows you to keep them to their schedule and daily limit.
Almost all these apps are free or come built-in as well and are super easy to get set-up – so try it out today!
Get Involved in Other Activities
Finally, a great way to monitor your children’s screen time is getting them involved in other activities.
Commonly, devices such as phones are great time wasters, and are the go-to for many children when they are bored.
To both decrease screen time, and so you know they aren’t spending too much on media, you should try arranging activities for them.
School for example, whilst compulsory, in itself, helps very much with keeping screen time down – compared to during the holidays.
When you do have free time – arrange physical activities, outdoor trips, let them join clubs at school or outside – all to make sure they are keeping their mind active elsewhere.
And at the same time, you know what they are doing – rather than them being on their devices for hours on end.
There is very little point in having a schedule if you leave gaps for them to be procrastinating – fill them up!
Remember however that everything needs to be considered in moderation – everybody needs some time to relax and wind down – which going on screens can usually offer.
Overall, there are many simple ways in which you can monitor your children’s screen time.
Firstly, by creating a schedule you can both limit their on-device time as well as make sure they aren’t missing out on essential physical activity and social time.
Secondly, in-built and downloadable apps on phones and gaming consoles can let you easily see how much screen time your children are having a day. Furthermore, it will let you begin to limit if you aren’t happy.
Lastly, arranging other activities – and giving your children something other to do than being on their devices each day – is a great way to both monitor and limit screen time.
As I have repeated often, the most important word remains moderation.
Screen time is perfectly fine, as long as it is shared alongside everything else – which we can check, by monitoring through the aforementioned methods.
Hope this helped you get some good ideas as a busy working Mother How Do I Monitor Screen time with my Children?