Too much screen time can be a problem. Here are some things to remember when allowing your child to get on the screens.
Screen Time: What Happens When There is Too Much
Too much screen time:
- can impact the development of a child’s brain.
- can decrease family time interaction.
- has been linked to speech delay in toddlers.
- has been linked to childhood obesity.
- has been linked to high blood pressure in children.
- may lead to addiction to phones and screens and could lead to hyperactivity or aggression.
Raising healthy children is a challenge. This is particularly true now that we have children that have never lived without the influence of big and small screens in their lives. We need to unplug frequently from screens in order to rest well and allow our bodies to recharge.
This post will highlight some of the benefits of using screens like computers and cell phones. There are some cautions that we need to take notice of as well. Take note of the great suggestions on how several parents find a balance when it comes to screen time. First and foremost, ask the Holy Spirit to help you. He wants the best for your family and will give you the guidance and the courage you need to set some healthy ground rules and boundaries where screens are concerned. In addition, read the bible and note specific scriptures on family and raising children. Check out 33 Bible Verses to Pray Over Your Home. This is a great post that highlights 33 scriptures that you can declare over your family. As believers, the first defense is the Sword of the Spirit.
Here is another post that will give you some great printables that you can print for your children to use.
Screen Time: Healthy Activities
It is important to acknowledge that there are benefits to using tablets and computers. Children are able to access books online. Some of these books are read by adults so children get to hear what good reading sounds like. Reading is one of those habits that we want our children to practice.
I am sure you are all familiar with Sesame Street. It is definitely different from when I was growing up but it is still a resouce for children to learn vowel sounds and practice counting. This is a great way to use the television and computer screen.
In addition, here are two more of my favorite online resources. Storyline Online and Adventures in Odyssey are great resources for stories. Storyline Online features members of the Screen Actors Guild reading stories. As I mentioned earlier, this is a wonderful way to enjoy good books and hear what good reading sounds like. Your child will likely want to read the books for him or herself once they have heard it read to them.
Furthermore, Adventures in Odyssey is set up like the old time radio shows where the story is dramatized on radio. This was one of our favorite activities as a family when our children were growing up. To this day, we enjoy listening to the stories on Adventures in Odyssey. Some of the stories are from the Bible while others are fiction pieces with a clear moral message. Check these out. You will enjoy them.
Even though Adventures in Odyssey is technically not consumed on a screen, I wanted to include this resource because of its value. The stories can be used to encourage family discussions on a variety of topics.
Screen Time Balance
There are great ideas that families have discovered to balance screen time for their families. Use screen time printables that list chores or activities that must be done before children can get on their screens.
Families also use contracts so that children understand that they are making a commitment in order to use screens.
What is a Screen?
There are infographics that make it clear what we are referring to when we use the term screen. These infographics help you set clear boundaries around screen time.
Some families use screen time tickets. Mom and dad hand out a certain number of tickets to children for the week. Children can earn more tickets by completing a chore or another type of activity you choose. They can also turn in their tickets for .50 each. Of course, you can decide what they are redeeming their tickets for.
Setting a timer can be a great way of monitoring the time without you, as the parent saying anything. Once the timer goes off, the child knows its time to move on to something else. This takes a little of the emotion out of the equation.
Screen Time: Control it Through WIFI
Another version of this is to use something that controls the amount of time someone has access to wifi. This can also filter and control what websites are accessible to each person. Meetcircle is a great device that parents can use to control what the children have access to at home.
Here is a great article on 25 Websites that are good for Kids. With everything that you are allowing your child to access, it is a good idea to preview the videos or sites they are going to. Some of the videos at the beginning may be fine, but as they continue, the material may turn dark or inappropriate. To be a parent is not for the faint of heart but be encouraged, there are plenty of resources out there that can help.
100 Ways to Bond with Your Child
I also included a post on 100+ ways to bond with your children. Many of these ideas are centered around conversation. Bonding with your children is important and can be your most important weapon in dealing with the attraction of the screens. Children enjoy the screens but they really need to connect with family members.
Many of the ways we bond with children involve conversations about things they are interested in or have questions about. When your children know that you are interested enough in them to spend time with them, they come to understand that they are important. This goes a long way in the area of building up self-esteem and confidence.
Our children need to know they are important and they have a place in this world. This is one of the marks of a healthy family. They also need to understand that they can make a difference in the world and they have a purpose. Watching hours of movies or playing hours of video games is only entertainment and recreation.
Another aspect of screen time that parents need to be aware of is the ease with which pornography can be accessed. Pornography is dangerous because it is highly addictive and damaging to families. Viewing pornography gives a skewed and warped view of sexuality as wll as objectifying women and children.
Consuming pornography damages healthy relationships in marriages because men start viewing their spouses as objects rather than the partner that the Lord gave them. No longer is the sexual relationship a loving relationship. It quickly turns into something where the goal is to satisfy the lust of the flesh. This opens the door to distrust and in many cases destroys the marriage.
Children are being exposed to pornography on a larger scale through the use of smartphones and tablets. The heartbreaking reality is that young teens are watching pornography and then sexually abusing younger siblings or relatives.
I want to encourage you to download the infographic I created. There are excellent resources that you can use to combat the use of pornography.
What have you done to balance screen time? Has pornography impacted your life? How have you found victory? Please share them in the comment section and share this with your family and friends that you think might benefit. Share some of the things that you have done as a family to balance screen time.