What Is Screen Time?
Screen time is the amount of time per day someone spends using their cell phone, tablet, computer, playing video games, and watching TV. According to Business Fibre, Americans spend a little over 6 hours per day on their devices. Spending a lot of time in front of a screen has been linked to many physical, behavioral, and mental health issues. This includes obesity, lack of sleep, violence, strained eyes, headaches, lack of attention, and decreased social skills.
How To Limit Screen Time For Kids
Create Rules They Have To Follow
Creating rules pertaining to watching television, video games, and device use is a great tactic to set limits on their time spent in front of a screen. Start out by setting a limit to the number of hours a day they can spend using technology. Then, set times for when they are able (and not able) to use their devices. For example, they cannot use their phone during family meals and after bedtime. Come up with whatever rules you think are necessary to help improve your child’s technology use.
Have Tech-Free Zones
There are times where it’s inappropriate for kids to use their devices to watch videos and browse social media. Some of these places include the kitchen during family meals, bedrooms, cars, and bathrooms. Who really wants disgusting bathroom germs on their cell phone?
Use Device Parental Controls
Many devices including cell phones, gaming consoles, and computers come with built-in parental controls and settings to help oversee and limit a child’s screen time. For example, the iPhone includes a Screen Time feature which allows parents to set content restrictions, oversee apps downloaded, and approve App Store purchases. For Android devices, you can set parental controls on Google Play to filter out content you don’t want your child to access.
Talk To Them About The Dangers Of Screen Time
If your child isn’t aware of the dangers of excessive screen time, they won’t limit their use of devices. Make them aware of the mental, physical, and behavioral health risks too much screen time poses to anyone, not just kids. By educating them, they will realize the importance of decreasing their technology use and interacting with the world around them.
To learn more about these tips, check out these resources:
- A Parent’s Guide To Setting Screen Time Limits
- Parents Share The Screen Time Rules That Work For Them
- 3 Places Families Should Make Phone-Free
- iPhone Parental Controls All Parents Need To Know About
- The Ultimate Guide To Setting Up Parental Controls On Samsung Devices
- 6 Negative Effects Of Too Much Screen Time For Kids
- Too Much Screen Time Can Have Lasting Consequences For Young Childrens’ Brains
How To Reduce Screen Time For Adults
Use A Smart Speaker or Virtual Assistant
Instead of using your phone or computer to search something online, use a smart speaker or voice assistant. Smart speakers that you can use in your home include the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod. The iPhone comes with the voice virtual assistant Siri, and most Android phones come with the Bixby virtual assistant.
Avoid Using Your Phone At Work
If you don’t need to use your phone at work, avoid doing so. Put your phone on silent and/or keep it out of sight so you don’t feel the need to check it every few minutes. Checking your phone every so often is fine to make sure you haven’t received any important calls, emails, or texts from friends, family, or work contacts.
Unplug After The Workday Is Done
This tip is especially important for those who work all day in front of a computer or phone screen. When you are done with the workday and go home, unplug and avoid using your devices. Staring at a screen all day can strain your eyes and you need to give them a break. Also, it’s important to make family time outside of work, which device use can take away from.
Find Other Activities To Occupy Your Time
To avoid the urge to watch TV or grab your phone, find another activity to occupy your time. Play board games with your family, read a book, listen to audiobooks or podcasts, or learn a new language. Find something new that you can be passionate about that doesn’t involve technology.
Helpful Free Screen Time Apps
- App Detox: Using this app, you can set your own rules pertaining to app use and notifications on your Android devices.
- Google Family Link: Help your family establish healthy digital habits and reduce screen time with this app by Google. Review device activities, manage apps, set screen time limits, and see where they are at all times.
- Highster Mobile: Monitor your family’s cell phone activities including social media apps, photos, videos, texts, emails, private messaging apps, and real-time GPS location. Compatible with iPhones, iPads, and Android smartphones.
- Forest: Be present, and stay focused on your work and what matters to you. All you do is set a timer for the length of time you don’t want to use your device. Every achievement will help you grow your tree and fill up your forest.