We get asked a lot lately by parents, how much screen time is too much for their children, and whether the rules should be changed during confinement. There's no simple answer, but I wanted to share what we see, having analysed multiple research articles and worked with hundreds of parents:
1. Not all screen time is equal. Entertainment should be limited and controlled, online schooling best limited, Facetime with families can be more flexible. Remember that communication can also happen via voice, not necessarily looking at the screen.
2. Not all children are the same (surprise!) - if your child is more irritable, gets tantrums etc after using screens, it's the case of limiting them (or specific activities causing them).
3. Screen time is not a problem per se; the problem is when it replaces other things. For example, children need to move a lot, much more than adults. If instead they are sitting down all day with their devices, you may expect problems.
4. Putting children behind the screens is NOT the only way for parents to get some work done. It works short-term, but will backfire long-term. Strategies as independent play, which you can teach a child of any age, will be more productive.
That's a very short version, and if you'd like to have some research-based guidelines, we've put together a few links here.
How do you manage screen time for your children?
Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina is a keynote speaker, author of Homo Distractus, professional coach and a pioneer of the Consciously Digital™ concept.