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Family Accountability

Less Screen Time for Children

by Ali Royann

Dear Ali,
As a parent, how do I encourage less screen time for my children?

Conscientious Caretaker

Dear Conscientious,

I understand your concern, as devices provide unlimited access to entertainment. Games and social media distractions can keep our kids glued to a screen way too long. Self-control is an important skill that will benefit our children in all areas of life, not just when it comes to screen time.

As parents, it is always best to lead by example. Demonstrate what self-control looks like. When using your device, it is wise to set a time limit. Be purposeful when using technology, and do not just use it out of boredom. Wandering aimlessly through TV channels or browsing the internet can lead to a lot of wasted time. Gaming and social media can quickly eat up hours before you know it! Have an idea of what you want to accomplish and how long you want to spend doing that activity before moving on to something else.

As parents, it is always best to lead by example. Demonstrate what self-control looks like.

Look into activities and volunteering opportunities that can occupy your children’s time while teaching them important life skills. Karate, ballet, art classes, and so on will get them socially engaged with others and teach them discipline. Have them volunteer to cut the neighbors’ grass or do tasks for the elderly in your area. Family activities and outings are also great ways to put the screens down and enjoy quality time with one another.

There is always the choice to limit screen time until your children are older. Their developing minds reap enormous benefits from playing and using their imagination, rather than being entertained. Encourage activity outside or toys that develop skills.

Older children who may already have their own devices should have clear boundaries in place as to when and where their devices can be used. Rules that don’t allow devices in the bedroom or after a certain hour will ensure that device activity does not interfere with sleep habits.

Accountable2You provides the ability to monitor screen time, set time limit alerts to notify you when any device is being used outside the allowed time, and keep you updated on device activity. As parents, you need to set the limit. With the average screen time for children now reaching over seven hours per day, you need to be diligent about how much time your kids use technology.

Yours in accountability,

“Ask Ali” is an op-ed column answering common questions about accountability and related topics.

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