Children and Screen Time

Parents, Children & Nannies: agreements regarding screen time

There is much talk in the media and amongst parents about the endless draw of children and young people to screens and in particular to social media. Screen time; It is a divisive topic, but most parents of older children permit their children to have some monitored and/ or restricted access to smart phones, tablets and computers.

Waist up portrait of small girls standing in cuddles with phone in hands. They are playing games on smartphone peacefully. Copy space in left side

Parents want make their children happy. Many want, therefore, to permit their children to play games on-line with their friends, or to connect socially with friends over social media. However, they also want to prevent them spending too much time on these devices, or seeing things they should not, or being pressured by social media. It is a subject which parents find incredibly difficult to navigate and whatever they do permit, children often find a way around the rules!
As parents, you need to have a plan and to decide what you will allow and for how long, and for which children. Your permissions may differ between your children, depending on their ages. Bear in mind that permissions can be reviewed, regularly, particularly as your children grow older. Also, it is a fact that many children these days, certainly in secondary school, need the internet or computer to complete their homework.

CMO report today advising on Children and Screen Times

There was a report published today by the CMO (Chief Medical Officer) about ‘Screen-based activities and children and young people’s mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. Families are being advised to ban screens at bedtime and also at dinner time. The report advises:

a.  Not using phones and mobile devices at the dinner table - talking as a family is very important for children’s development.

b.  Leaving screens outside bedrooms at bedtime.

c.  Talking openly as a family about safety online, cyber-bulling and what children should do if they are concerned (about themselves or others).

d.  Never using phones when crossing a road or when doing something which requires a person's full attention.

e. Making sure children taker regular breaks from screens (every two hours max) and do some physical activity.

f. Policing their own use too - parents should pay proper attention to their children and ensure plenty of quality family time. Also never assume that your children are happy for their photos to be shared on your social media. Even if they do not mind now, they might, later on.

Whatever rules you decide upon as parents, you need to make them clear to your children, and also inform your nanny and others who may care for your children. Do not assume that nanny will know what your rules are. Bearing in mind that you do not want to risk your children telling nanny what they are or are not permitted to do! Nanny might have her/his own views on screen time. And as an experienced child-carer she/he may be happy to share these view and advice with you. However nannies will ultimately enforce whatever you decide is best for your children. Or at least try to!

Need more advice?

Contact the KINDER team today.