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How to Help Your Children Manage Their Screen Time

Photo from Bruce Mars via Unsplash

How to Help Your Children Manage Their Screen Time

By Movieguide® Contributor

The average age a child in the U.S. receives a smartphone is 11, and parents are wondering how to manage their kids’ screen time.

“Mobile phone adoption in the United States is starting in late childhood and early adolescence; currently, 53% of children have a smartphone by age 11. Later in adolescence, mobile phone use remains high, with over 95% of teens ages 13 to 17 years having access to a cell phone,” the National Library of Medicine says.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently outlined new guidance to help parents manage their child’s screen time.

“It poses five essential questions and calls them the five C’s,” the TODAY show reported.

The five C’s include:

  • Child: Who is your child?
  • Content: What is worth the attention of your child?
  • Calm: How do kids manage their emotions, especially around bedtime?
  • Crowding Out: What does social media get in the way of?
  • Communication: How can you talk to your kids and build healthier relationships with their devices?

“5 C’s guidance for each age group starts with information about the developmental stages kids are going through and how this influences media use,” Healthy Children reported. “It also describes healthy media habits to strive for at home. You can use these to build upon how you’re already connecting with your kids.”

Dr. Jenny Radesky joined TODAY to discuss the five C’s and help parents guide their children when it comes to devices.

“This is a framework. We were asked by pediatricians and families to come up with easy to remember guidance that’s informed by the research evidence, but is more nuanced than the old two-hour rule,” Dr. Radesky began to explain.

Parents are struggling with their kids’ constant begging for more screen time.

“So, if we think about the first C, child. Some kids are pretty chill about their media use. Others have that drive. Like they just want it. It’s so hard for them to shift away from it,” Dr. Radesky expressed. “It is hard for them to put it down. If you have a kid like that or who might be anxious, might have ADHD, you want to be more intentional about your guidelines and your boundaries around media use or just use media that doesn’t have all the sticky properties that want them to keep going and going and going.”

“That’s where content comes in. If you find that you are battling more over kids watching YouTube or video games that are just filled with rewards or a social media feed that’s making them feel bad about themselves, then switch the content to something more positive where maybe you watch together,” she continued.

Movieguide® previously reported on how parents can help their children set screen time limits:

As parents hope to curb these negative effects, Momtastic suggests these tips:

Set Screen Time Limits: Establish clear and consistent screen time limits for different activities, such as TV, video games, and social media. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children aged 2 to 5 years should have no more than one hour of high-quality screen time per day, and children under 18 months should avoid screen time altogether.

Create Screen-Free Zones: Designate specific areas in your home, such as the dining room or bedrooms, where screens are not allowed. This helps prevent screens from intruding on family time and sleep.

Be a Role Model: Children often emulate the behavior of adults. If you want your child to spend less time on screens, be a positive role model by reducing your own screen time and engaging in non-screen activities.

Provide Alternative Activities: Encourage your child to engage in alternative activities like reading, outdoor play, creative arts and crafts, or board games. Make these activities readily available and appealing.

Plan Screen Time: Instead of allowing unrestricted screen access, plan screen time as a part of your child’s daily routine. Set specific times for screen use, such as after homework or chores are completed.


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