Previously there was only one form of screen time: TV. Fast-forward to now and there’s a whole selection of different screen formats in which children and young people can immerse themselves.
Despite this growth, there is still little official advice on the amount of time that children should be allowed to use devices.
One of the problems everyone faces when considering screen time is the fact that screens have changed. We used to worry about our children sitting in front of the TV, immobile for hours watching programme after programme and getting zero exercise. So, whilst they can still sit for hours binge watching their favourite show, they can also research, do homework and correct everything their teacher or parents say, after consulting the apparent fountain of all knowledge – Google.
Rather than having ongoing disagreements about screen time, use our pack to establish flexible and structured boundaries for the children in your care to follow regarding their use of smartphones, laptops, televisions and gaming consoles.
The Common Sense Census: ‘Media Use by Tweens and Teens’ identified four categories of screen time.
Passive consumption: watching TV, reading, and listening to music.
Interactive consumption: playing games and browsing the internet.
Communication: video-chatting and using social media.
Content creation: using devices to make digital art or music.
Video calling a distant relative, playing an online game that requires an element of sharing and learning, building, and creating content in an interactive environment; can all be positive screen time experiences.
The truth is, it’s about balance – how and when they use the screen in their pocket, in school or on the wall at home.
Professionals tend to agree that;
- Under 18 months – no screen time.
- 2-5 years – one hour per day.
- 6+ – You should set limits depending on the type of media interacted with.
By reading this you are using some of the 6 hours and 12 minutes most people can spend on screen time each day, before it has a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. So, consider this time well spent.
Whenever you get the chance, help parents understand healthy screen time and always lead by example and encourage a balanced approach in school e.g. challenging pupils to interact with each other by playing outside at lunch and breaktimes; without their phones.