Today's society is different to when you were growing up and it can be challenging to manage the balance of your child's screen time. This is because children have screen time at school and when doing homework.
Child development experts recommend age appropriate screen time and carefully choosing what you let your child watch. Children will learn about managing screen time by seeing how their parents use their screens.
There are many types of screens: Tablet, iPad, smartphone, laptop or desktop computer, TV and DVDs.
Screen time is the total time spent watching any of these devices.
Children under two years
- No screen time other than video - chatting with long distance family and friends.
Switch on to your child and switch off your device.
Focused, caring attention will postively affect your child's life.
Children 2-5 years
- One hour per day of supervised use of a tablet, iPad, smartphone, laptop or desktop computer, TV or DVD watching high quality programs or Apps with no advertisement, such as Playschool.
This is an opportunity for the parent/carer to spend the time watching or playing with your child.
Choosing an App or programs that your child is interested in and will provide activities that you can do together away from the screen.
Children need time for activities other than screen time. Activities you can do with your child include going to the park, kicking a ball, imaginary play, drawing and playing with toys. Play is very important for a child as they learn to master their world.
By choosing high quality programs or Apps your child will not be exposed to violent media as seen in cartoons, as young children don't understand what is real and unreal and by viewing violent media. They will copy what they see on the screen. This understanding of what is real and unreal also impacts upon what children see in food advertisements, not understanding that junk food is unhealthy.
Using a screen to calm or distract your child will not teach them how to deal with different and difficult situations. It is good for them to have your help to find other ways to calm down when bored or unhappy. You may be able to help them to make up a game, play 'I Spy', simply have a cuddle or a sing a song.
Helping your child, by choosing what they watch and how long they watch the different screens each day will make a difference today and into their and your futures.