Technology is everywhere, there’s no avoiding it really. Even the Early Year Foundation Stage curriculum have an Understanding The World: technology section.
The Mirror states “A survey of 1,000 British mums has revealed that 85% now admit to using modern technology to keep their kids occupied while they get on with other activities.” This is a shocking statistic.
Technology can be a good thing when used correctly and in moderation, it is not a babysitting service. I often see articles in the media, on children and social media, screen time, age appropriate apps, etc.
Let’s be honest, most of us have whipped out some sort of internet connected device to calm our children down at some point. I know I do. However, I do not use it as a babysitting service.
Some children spend many many hours sat in front of a screen, whether that’s the telly, a computer or a tablet or phone. It all counts. A study carried out by online electrical retailer AO.com suggests children are spending, on average, just under 17 hours a week in front of a screen.
How can you manage your children’s screen time?
1- Start as you mean to go on. If you decide to enforce screen time guidelines you need to carry it on, don’t fall back into old habits.
2-Become a positive role model. If you are always looking at your phone, your child will want to do the same, it will become the norm for them if that’s what they are seeing.
3-Save screen time for long car journeys, it will save you from the continuous ‘I spy games’ and ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ questions.
4- Earn screen time- set chores, reward positive behaviour with screen time
5- Be conscientious of the age appropriateness. What may be suitable for a 10-year-old will most certainly not be suitable for a 4 or 5-year-old. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages screen time for infants under the age of 2. Whattoexpect.com say “Babies don’t “get” TV. They’re mesmerized by the lights and sounds, but study after study has shown that infants can’t learn from screen time. The images may capture your baby’s attention, but they won’t make her smarter. Educational DVDs and TV really aren’t. Those programs may be marketed as educational — claiming to boost brainpower or jumpstart reading. But the research tells another story — that language development can actually be significantly slowed down by those programs. That’s because a steady diet of screen time often means less parent-child time.”