Tips for kids and technology

In this photograph illustration, a 10-year-old boy uses an Apple Ipad tablet computer. CHRISTOPHER FURLONG/GETTY IMAGES
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In this photograph illustration, a 10-year-old boy uses an Apple Ipad tablet computer. CHRISTOPHER FURLONG/GETTY IMAGES

As adults, many of us use cell phones, computers or tablets every day, so it seems natural to hand our children the same screens for their learning and entertainment. But where do we draw the line with our kids and their technology use? Are we doing more harm than good by allowing them to use these screens?

A 2017 study by Victoria Rideout called, “The Common Sense census: Media use by kids age zero to eight,” shows that kid’s technology use is increasing significantly. The study says that mobile media device time for zero to eight year olds has tripled since 2013, with 48 minutes being the average amount of time spent on mobile devices per day. 42 percent of children have their own tablet device - this number was seven percent just four years ago.

“Parents must be conscious of their children’s technology consumption,” says Julie Stucke, PhD, child psychologist at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “They must be aware of the amount of screen time their children are getting each day and what types of content they are consuming. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that school age kids spend no more than two hours on screens each day.”

Follow these simple tips to establish healthy technology boundaries for your children:

-Talk to your kids early on about rules around technology use. How much screen time will your kids have access to each day? What times of day can your kids have screen time? What kind of content can they access?

  • Monitor what type of content your kids are consuming on the internet
  • Children under two years of age should not have screen time
  • Children two to four years of age should have no more than an hour of screen time per day
  • Children older than four years of age should have no more than two hours of screen time per day
  • Children should turn off all screens an hour before going to bed
  • Watch programs with your children and talk to them about what they are watching

“It is important to understand that while technology and the internet can be sources of quality entertainment, these tools can also open up our kids to negative experiences,” says Dr. Stucke. “Kids can be exposed to material without you knowing. People on the internet can get access to children all too easily. Parents can lead by example by establishing healthy boundaries with their children regarding technology.”

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