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Getting the Screen Time Balance Right for Families

By Leonie Smith - 4th March 2014

Screen time is all about balance. It's sometimes more about what is being done on the screen than the amount of time spent. Too much screen time can mean that family members aren't really talking to each other or spending time in a productive way. If you're not sure if your family has got the right balance, consider these questions:

  • How much screen time does your family use?
  • How do you connect with your kids away from digital devices and screens?
  • How does your family start conversations where the kids can contribute and let you into their world?

Sometimes families need to go without digital devices to see what else they might like to do. Here are some ideas for switching off:

  • Make some agreements around not having phones/ipods at the dinner table.
  • Set times for screen time and times for switching it off.
  • Help your children find other things they like to do that don't rely on a screen.
  • Suggest a screen diet - the whole family give up screens for a weekend to see what happens.

Screen time is not all bad! Children and families are enjoying interactive time together playing educational or strategy games, or when using their computer to create something. Keep an eye on what children are using their devices for, and learn about other things they can do on their devices and/or P.C that are creative. Here are some creative things that young people are doing on their devices:

  • Creating movies, or stop motion animation.
  • Drawing with a drawing tablet or drawing program on a tablet.
  • Reading or working on photos creatively.
  • Writing a story or creating a comic.
  • Learning to code to create an app or a game.
  • Building a blog.
  • Collaborating with others on a project.

There are so many amazing creative pursuits you can do on a computer besides just homework, checking social media, and watching YouTube!

Have some ideas? Please share them below in the comments.

Image from freedigitalphotos.net

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