In today’s world, so much of our daily lives seems to be centered around something digital. Whether it be a TV, computer, phone, or even Alexa, all these machines can make life pretty easy and are fun to interact with. But with this dependence on devices can potentially come misuse, especially with younger children. They may even become addicted to being on a screen, which we can safely say is unsafe!

Determining Time Frames

If you think your child is spending too much time on their devices, document it! Start keeping tabs on how long they are on certain devices from when they come home from school to when they go to bed. And make sure you tabulate any time they may spend at school on devices as well. Watch and document for at least a few days, if not a week, to make sure you have a good time frame, and tally up the time each day. If they are spending more than five or six hours on a device each day, it is definitely time to cut back. 

Screen Addiction

Once you have an idea of how much time they are on their screens, you will also have to make sure they are not addicted to the screens either. This can present itself in a few different ways, but the most obvious is how they react when the device is taken away, or cut short. Your child will always want to be on their phone or tablet, and will throw a tantrum if it is taken away. If it seems as if your child or teen is really obsessed or addicted, you may have to speak with their doctor on a good course of action, as it may be too much to handle on your own. 

Creating Some Distance

If your child is simply on their devices too much and are not necessarily addicted, you can start scaling back slowly. If you try to cut back too much, you may start running into problems as well, so it is always recommended to take small steps. Start with the most used device (most likely their phone), and cut it back by a fourth of the time frame. Have them do some yard work instead, or help you make dinner, or read a real book to fill that gap. Give that some time to settle in as a new routine before you cut back on another device. Remember that you are the parent and can make whatever rules you want around their devices, but be sure to explain why you are doing it too, so your children understand.

Katie Kyzivat