Parenting in the age of Technology

Striking The Perfect Balance Between Screen Time and Real-World Experiences with Useful Parenting Tips

Screen time for kids sparks endless parenting debates. While it can be beneficial, over-reliance can lead to guilt for parents. Doctors recommend limiting screen time, but completely cutting it off is challenging. Sometimes, it"s easier to hand them a smartphone than deal with tantrums after a long day. However, this can quickly turn into a habit. Being mindful of screen time and content is crucial. Excessive device use can take away from essential activities like sleep, exercise, play, and homework. Using a digital gadget can expose your child to undesirable outcomes as he/she may be totally unaware of what is happening in the real-world. Here is where parenting tips come into play.

In a March 2023 survey conducted by Kantar on behalf of Amazon, over 90% of parents expressed concern that increased screen time leads to reduced physical activity in children. The majority believed that the recommended screen time for kids should be under 2 hours. However, a significant 69% of respondents confirmed that their children are actually spending more than 3 hours per day engaged with screens. (Source: Digital Terminal)

What is digital parenting?

  • "Digital parenting" refers to the practice of parents overseeing the online activities of their child using digital gadgets that are available to them. 

  • With the increasing adoption of digital devices, the importance of digital parenting has become even more significant.

  • As technology forms an integral part and parcel of everyday life, it has become essential for parents to transform their approach when it comes to screen time for their children and strike the perfect balance between health and technology. 

  • Therefore, effective parenting advice would require parents to familiarize themselves with, adapt to, and respond to the ever-evolving landscape of digital existence.

Incorporating screen time and digital technology into your child"s life can contribute positively to their overall well-being when balanced with other activities that promote holistic development. These activities encompass physical play, outdoor exploration, creative expression, reading, and social interactions with friends and family. Achieving the right equilibrium also involves ensuring that screen time does not disrupt their sleep patterns.

Here are some parenting tips to assist you in guiding your child towards a balance between health and technology when it comes to going digital.

Parenting Tip ' 1: Set the rules for screen time

One of the most important parenting tips is to set rules and guidelines to balance your child"s screen time on digital devices with other activities like outdoor play. These rules can include:

  • When your child can use digital devices.

  • How much your child should use digital gadgets.

  • Where your child should use digital devices.

Parenting Tip ' 2: Focus on active screen time

  • When it comes to screen time, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. 

  • Another one of the essential parenting tips would be to opt for activities that foster learning, creativity, and problem-solving, such as educational apps and enjoyable games. 

  • This ensures that screen time contributes positively to your child"s development.

  • Rather than passively looking videos, motivate your child to interact with content that stimulates their thinking and keeps them actively engaged. 

  • This approach can enhance the benefits of screen time and support cognitive growth.

Parenting Tip ' 3: Use of filters to control what is seen on the screen

  • When the content shown on the screen  is negative and not age-appropriate, it is essential for parents to prevent their children from viewing it. 

  • Young children can easily be impacted by what they are viewing on the screen. Implementing suitable filters to block irrelevant content is a great way for parents to have control on what is being viewed on the screen by their child.

  • The best parenting advice would be blocking adult content on streaming platforms, muting advertisements, and periodically reminding children about responsible viewing are more effective approaches than confiscating devices or imposing strict television limitations.

Parenting Tip ' 4: Get your child moving outdoors

  • Encouraging your child to engage in outdoor activities multiple times a day is one of the great parenting tips.

  • Playing outdoors provides your child with opportunities to discover the natural world, embark on adventures, engage in games, push their physical boundaries, express themselves, and inculcate self-confidence.

  • Additionally, outdoor play may lead to more mess, but it often equates to more enjoyment.

  • When your child is outside, they likely have more freedom and flexibility to engage in various activities like running, jumping, kicking, and throwing. 

  • These physical endeavors are beneficial for your child"s fitness and overall physical development.

Parenting Tip ' 5: Encourage play, communication and friendship with others

  • Allowing kids to socially interact and foster a strong connection with other kids is great parenting advice.

  • By playing, communicating, and making friends with other kids, a child will learn new things and improve their language, away from the passive one-way interaction with the screen.

Parenting Tip ' 6: Keeping tech devices away from children at night

  • A vital parental advice would be to keep smartphones, tablets, and other digital gadgets away from the reach of your child at night.

  • This would mean that your child would be able to get peaceful and quality sleep for 8-10 hours without playing games or messaging friends at night.

Parenting Tip ' 7: Be a role model for your child

  • When it comes to parenting tips, there is nothing bigger than setting a positive example in front of your child.

  • Children are keen observers who tend to emulate their parents" habits more than their words. Establishing clear guidelines for your own behavior is essential. 

  • By limiting your own smartphone usage, you create additional opportunities to bond with your child. 

  • These interactions play a pivotal role in fostering a healthy and strong parent-child relationship, whose significance is more often than not overlooked by many.

Often, parents spend a significant amount of time on their smartphones while advising their children against it. In such instances, children tend to emulate their parents" behavior. One of the most vital parenting tips would be to become a positive role model for your child by curbing your smartphone usage. Allocate more quality time to engage, embrace, and play with your children instead of merely gazing at a screen. The objective is to comprehend the recommended screen time guidelines for your child"s age and strike a balance between health and technology.