As a mother of two young children, I’ve given a lot of thought about technology use among kids. There are both negatives and positives to screentime, so finding that healthy balance is crucial for today’s youth.
Entertainment and education are two important parts of a child’s development, but there is a growing sentiment that too much screen time is impacting their health, development, and academic performance. It may also narrow their interests and affect their social skills.
A new study from the University of Calgary found that most kids five years of age and under are getting too much screen time and noted a link between screen time and behavioral issues. I’ve seen it in my own children — when we turn off the television, my children get agitated and irritable.
However, just like adults at the end of the day, children too need that time to relax and enjoy a little entertainment. I’ve put together a few tips that have helped my family find that balance.
- Be present when your children are watching TV or playing games to help them better understand what they are viewing.
- Engage – discuss what you learned or discovered
- Ensure a balance of both entertaining and educational content.
- Give several warnings when screen time is about to end.
- Have a new activity planned to do right after screen time. Aim for things that involve the outdoors, using motor skills, or imagination.
- Don’t waste screen-time when your kids have friends over. They should entertain each other. Same goes for babysitters.
- Work with older children and teens to set their own boundaries for healthy screen time.
- Turn off all screens a half hour to an hour before bedtime. This is good for adults too.
- Restrict electronic devices at the dinner table or during family activities.
- Be sure to set parental controls and age restrictions on games or apps
- Know how to report abuse or block anyone inappropriate on social media.
- Help kids understand why less screen time can be healthier, mentally and physically.
Once your house rules are established, you can use the xFi app to maintain those boundaries.
Xfinity xFi is a simple, digital dashboard for Xfinity customers to personalize, troubleshoot, monitor, and control the home WiFi network. In addition to the parental control features like pausing WiFi and bedtime mode, xFi provides content filters that ensure younger children can only access age-appropriate content, websites and apps, and real-time alerts when a new device connects to the home WiFi network.
According to Comcast’s 2021 WiFi Trends Report, more than 1 million Xfinity customers used xFi parental controls last year to pause and un-pause WiFi access nearly 100 million times, with peak times being bedtime, during homework and dinnertime.
If we work together, we can help our children enjoy technology in a healthy way.
Sara Jo Walker is a Tennessee native, Mother of Two and Senior Director of Public Relations for Comcast