Technology is an ever-present tool that much of the world uses on a constant basis. No matter where you go, people all around are looking down at their phones and tablets. However, this tunnel vision where people spend more time looking at their screens than the world around them is problematic. For example, parents and guardians are having trouble managing this dilemma with their children. But what can be done about it?
To discuss the issue of screen time, Steve Adubato, PhD., met with Stephanie Sitnick, PhD. Sitnick is an assistant psychology professor in the Department of Psychology and Counseling at Caldwell University. In the following episode of One-on-One with Steve Adubato, Sitnick and Adubato discuss the debate over screen time; particularly, how ease of access makes it difficult to teach children and teens to spend time away from their devices.
Tips on How to Manage Screen Time for Kids and Teens
First, “screen time” refers to the time a person spends on their cell phone, tablet, computer, TV, or gaming console. Though people of all ages are guilty of excessive screen time, children and teens can suffer the most from it. With this in mind, Sitnick has some tips for parents looking to manage their children’s device usage.
“Limit setting is really important,” says Sitnick. “Saying, ‘Okay, you have a certain amount of time that you can have access to a screen,’ or ‘within these sort of restrictions.’ Dinnertime maybe is a ‘no screen zone’ for the family. I mean, you have to do what works best for each family, but certainly limit setting is important; but then parents have to follow those limits, too.”
It’s important to remember that children learn from their parents; seeing a parent constantly use their phone teaches a child that practice is acceptable; so when parents set screen time limits for kids, the parents also have to follow those rules.
The American Association of Pediatrics even has new guidelines on the subject. But they also recognize that “what every child and family needs might be a little bit different,” according to Sitnick.
Of course, not everything about screen time and technology is bad; there are some important and beneficial elements to this type of technology. But just as with most things, moderation is important. For parents, managing screen time for their children is just a modern day obstacle they must overcome.
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Feature (Top) Image: © One-on-One with Steve Adubato / Caucus Educational Corporation