There is increasing evidence that too much screentime is linked with poorer reading ability, aggression, poor social skills and obesity. More time spent in front of a screen means less time spent with the family doing activities such as reading or being active.
If your child is spending more than two hours in front of a screen watching TV or playing computer games (educational or not!) then you should think about developing a plan to reduce this. Some ideas are:
- Don’t use the TV as background noise – only turn it on to watch specific programmes.
- Try using the ‘sleep’ function to switch it off after 30 minutes.
- Avoid using the TV for winding down – instead read a book with your children.
- Avoid TVs or computers in children’s bedrooms.
- Only allow computer games to be played (for no more than an hour at a time!) on two days of the week – say one day midweek and one day at the weekend.
- Use time that was previously spent on the internet to meet up with friends and get outside or take up a sport or hobby for example.
- Talk to your child – explain to them why you don’t want them spending too much time in front of screens. Remember, time spent with your children is precious.