Good Monday Morning everyone,
I’m bringing your our favorite school psychologist, Dr. Valerie Allen, with some very wise words on an important topic for our children…
Screen Time vs Serene Time
Dr. Valerie Allen
The current generation of children and young adults have been raised during the electronic age. Computer screens and robots (Bots) are an everyday part of life to the point we can hardly conceive of life without them. When computers go down, stores close, government agencies and banks are at a standstill, people become locked inside various conveyances, and airports grind to a halt. When our electronic devices function properly, we are in awe with such a powerful tool that can facilitate our daily tasks, broaden our education, and increase our social contacts. Used effectively, computers bring the world within our grasp.
Parents must consider the risks vs the benefits of computer use and screen time for their children. Here are some basic suggestions to guide parents in this critical area.
- Remember, you are the parent, you make the rules. Allow discussion and suggestions but the final decision rests with you.
- Set a good example for phone etiquette. Go to another room to speak on the phone and modulate your voice. Excuse yourself from the phone promptly when others are waiting for your time or attention. Turn off your phone and keep your conversation private while in public places.
- At home, two hours per day in half hour increments with at least a half hour between each electronic session is reasonable. Keep in mind your youngster will likely be using computers at school. They will also use their devices when with friends and may have considerable computer time which is unsupervised.
- Develop a routine about computer time and use. No one should use their devices during meal time, in the bathroom, or after bed time. Consequences of misuse should be clear, fair, and consistent.
- Have a specific place in the home where all electronic devices are kept when not in use. Each child is to turn in his or her device at the appointed time. The first violation of the rule results in missing the next half hour of approved time. The second violation results in removal of the device for the remainder of that day and the next day.
- Parental controls are available to monitor allowable content. This may depend on the age of your youngster, as some items are appropriate for one age but not another. Be sure to screen apps, games, and social media. Their passwords should not be kept secret. You should be able to access your child’s social media.
- There are also locator controls to tract your child’s whereabouts. Teens may consider this a violation of their privacy and/or a trust issue, but should they be in danger or have an emergency, tracking may be a lifesaver. It is a parental obligation to know where your children are at all times.
Youngsters need to be physically active and socially engaged in positive ways and not limited due to their use of electronics. Parents must take control of all electronic devices to ensure their children have a healthy life balance interacting with the “bots” and the humans in their life.
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Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She has published two books for children ages 7 to 12, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends” and a picture book for beginning readers, “The Sun and The Moon.” Oh yes, she has also raised six children!