by Alkesh Patel LPC, CSAC
With the current situation, your child may have rapidly rising screen time. However, you can reduce it with a few simple steps. First and foremost, always discuss screen time expectations and intentions with your child based on their age group.
- Install the app Screen Time by Screentime Lab. As the #1 parental control app, it allows you to set time limits, encourage positive habits, create schedules, view web history, approve apps, and much more! These restrictions can also be added to their laptop so that it only allows 1 hour based on the time you have set up.
- Monitor all the apps they visit and their content. By putting parental control on all the apps, you can ensure safety and control explicit content.
- Start slowly. If your child currently has 5 hours of screen time, remove 50% initially. Then ultimately give them 1 hour of game time and 1 hour of movie time.
- Provide alternative activities. These may include playing board games or cards, sewing, drawing, online violin, piano, and other items.
- Give more screen time on the weekend. After all, the weekend is a time to relax, and this screen time will not interfere with schoolwork.
- Take away screen time as a natural consequence. If your child is not completing chores or is misbehaving, then this can be a great privilege for them to lose.
- Adjust your expectations. Talk to them before restricting them on any site. Doing this can help them understand what you expect of their online behavior.
- Listen to them. I mean really listen to their emotions and logic before interrupting them during any discussion about screen time.
- Provide extra screen time as a reward. Whenever your child goes above and beyond her normal day to day (ex: helping you with a brother or sister, being kind to others, doing extra-curricular educational activities without prompting), give them extra time as a way to show them you appreciate their responsible behavior.
- Essential screen time should not count towards their total. If your child utilizes a device for school, family communication or essential research, then this should not count towards their 1 hour of game time and 1 hour of movie time.