Managing screentime in your household doesn’t need to be about earning it as a reward. In fact, when we use screens solely as a reward, it can result in children searching for other ways to engage online without your knowledge. A shift in how we look at screens and how we manage time engaging with digital content and media is important.
Children and young people being ‘glued to the screen’ is not a new issue for parents, but the culture of entertainment and social interactions has changed so much over the last few years that it is certainly a much bigger challenge. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, children’s lives have adapted to include more screen time as a necessity for meeting their educational, social, and entertainment needs. So how do we say, “Back away from the Xbox! Step away from the screens!” without disregarding their feelings about the devices that have become a lifeline for some children?
Click or Tap this box to learn more about where you can find support
- ParentingNI: provide a free support line and webchat for parents and carers in Northern Ireland.
- Parentline: is a free and confidential helpline and online chat service for parents and carers in Northern Ireland.
- Internet Matters: For resources and advice on screen time visit the Internet Matters website.
- INEQE Safeguarding Group: For resources and advice on managing screen time, visit their website.
What you need to know
- Be intentional: Discuss and create screentime rules that work for your household. Recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and it’s important to involve children and young people in your family to ensure better cooperation with the rules in the long run.
- Learn about popular platforms and games: Some of these platforms may have parental controls, safety settings, reporting functions and even screen time controls that are important to know about.
- Be accountable: Remember that you set the example to younger members of your family. So, keeping your phone at the dinner table for work reasons may seem logical to you, but to them it could feel unfair. Good screen time habits are easy to form, but that does not mean they are easy to stick to!