Kid’s screen time limits – do they make sense?

For many of us, limiting our family’s screen time seems to be a lost cause or a battle we can’t seem to win. We used to be concerned with limiting the amount of time our children spent watching TV, but now we have iPhones, iPads and computers to worry about as well.

Over the past few years, research has shown that children between the ages of 8 and 18 years spend around 7.5 hours each day using some form of entertainment media. This screen time includes watching TV, playing games on the computer, answering emails and listening to music, as well as completing homework.

Limiting screen time to 2 hours a day

You might remember that research has said that we should limit our children’s screen time to a maximum 2 hours per day – but is this really realistic anymore?

How often do your children take their smartphone to bed with them and text their friends when they should be sleeping? How difficult is it to drag your kids away from the computer on the weekends? Trying to limit screen time to just 2 hours seems like a fool’s errand.

Well, you will might be interested to know that recent research in Australia has questioned these 2 hour screen time limits and concluded that they are just about unenforceable. They found that screen based media and communications are fast becoming so central to our lives - that to enforce such militant screen time limits on our children is not productive or achievable.

So what can you do?

Well, the 2 hour screen time limits were actually set in 2001, before multimedia and communications became so pervasive in our lives and let’s be honest, most of us embrace the new technology.

There is no argument that we certainly need more research on the physical, social and mental impacts on our children of spending large amounts of time interacting with multimedia and communications devices. In the meantime however, we simply have to be realistic and set workable screen time limits for our children.

The easiest way to do this is to use a device that cuts off their access to the internet in the home. So after a set period of time, there is no arguing or begging, because the internet simply shuts down. This can be after 2, 3 or 4 hours or whatever screen time limit, you as a parent, deem to be appropriate.

Screenshot of schedule page in KoalaSafe app

This gives you control over the amount of time your children can safely spend online, reduces your stress about enforcing screen time limits and helps you to bring a healthier balance back into your lives.

For more information on KoalaSafe, email us at hello@koalasafe.com and ask us how KoalaSafe can help limit your children’s screen time.