What You Absolutely Need to Know About Screen Time and Your Kids

too much screen time

We hear plenty of warnings about the perils of too much screen time for kids. But when we hear our seven-year-olds begging for their own iPads it can be easy to conclude that parents are fighting a losing battle. If you cringe each time your child ignores you because their eyes are glued to a screen or throws a fit when it’s time to put the device down, you are feeling the tension familiar to many parents. We recognize the convenience of technology even as we struggle to keep it from alienating us from those we love most. While there are no guidelines to guarantee a stress-free journey through the technology morass, it helps to start with a healthy perspective. The following can help us maintain hope and optimism as we impart healthy technology habits to our kids.

Stay Family Focused

Those of us who strive for healthy boundaries with screens can feel as though we are up against impossible odds.  The good news is you are not called to change the whole culture. Focus on your family. Focus on what works for your kids. My kids are approaching third grade and their individual screen time is limited to two hours a week, with the occasional family movie or afternoon program thrown in. My kids are old enough to know that most of their friends have more screen access than they do. They are also old enough to understand that we do not derive our family values from cultural norms. You know your family best—don’t be afraid to choose what matters and live according to it with confidence.

Resistance is to be Expected

Your kids are not going to love the limitations you set on technology. That’s all right. Our job as parents is to make the adult decisions that protect our kids from overuse or abuse of screens, keeping in mind that technology addiction is real and the consequences if we neglect our responsibility could be dire. Most kids will be drawn to screens, and the limits we set are rarely met with happy acquiescence, so as parents we must prepare for pushback. Be thoughtful about the guidelines you set and don’t be afraid to explain to your kids why you chose them. Then stick to them. Children learn by trial and error, testing whatever boundaries block their way. Accept this as a part of the process and you’ll be less likely to give in under pressure.

Every Generation of Parents Faces a Whole New World

It is easy to lament the difficulties of raising children in today’s technology-driven culture, but rest assured every generation of parents has its share of changes and challenges to address. Once upon a time parents feared girls wearing pants, rock and roll music, and their kids asking for a private phone line in their bedrooms; all are issues that seem quaint today. Parenting goes hand in hand with navigating new challenges. {Tweet This} Every generation has its own trials, and screen addiction is one of ours.

Readers, please take a minute to comment below and tell us what you do to keep technology from taking too much family time?