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Good Parent, Bad Parent: How Much Screen Time Is Too Much Screen Time?

Is there really some sort of book that teaches you how to be a “good parent?” And if there is, what is it exactly that makes you a “bad parent?”

In all honesty, there isn’t a playbook that teaches parents how to be good or bad parents… there are books and other resources that give tips on how to handle certain parenting situations that might be helpful but there’s no one-size-fits-all guide to parenting.

Why? Because no child is the same and you have to be a parent to your child according to how your child is and how they receive your parenting.

I know this might not be what you signed up for when you became a parent but unfortauntly it is true.

How the Times Have Changed…

Sure, there once was a time when raising your child was much simpler. If they misbehaved, you could punish them by sending them to their room (where there wasn’t a TV in there) or you could not allow them to go outside to play…

Today, to punish your kids, you have to take away video game, TV, or cell phone privileges. Their punishment is definitely different than what yours was growing up but the pain is still all the same.

The reason their punishment hurts them so bad is that TV, video games, and cell phones are their main sources of entertainment. It happens to be the times we live in but it doesn’t always have to remain that way.

So, as a parent you come to a cross roads, how can you allow your kids to receive the education and experience technology brings without harming them by exposing them to it too much?

Well, I like to think of it as ‘enjoying it in moderation’ just like with anything else in life. Basically, monitoring your kids screentime and setting limits on how much they have access to it.

According to the Adolescent  Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, kids that spent more than two hours a day of screen time received poor test scores.

Besides the amount of time spent, as parents, you also have to worry about their safety while online. Earlier this year, subliminal messages where being placed into children’s YouTube videos. That is so scary and is something we never want our children to be exposed to.

Although those aspects are definitely things to be mindful of, it doesn’t mean that you have to completely take away their screen time.

Find the Right Balance Between Screen Time and Family Time

We live in a digital age and your children need to know how to adapt and keep up with the technological advancements. As mentioned earlier, you have to raise your children the way you see fit but in the matters of too much screen time, you just have to find that balance between screen time and family time.

With television, there are movie and TV applications that allow you to pick and choose what they watch online.

Another thing you can do as a parent is get interested in what they’re interested in. You know how the saying goes… if you can’t beat em’ join em.’ That saying couldn’t be more perfect in today’s day and age…

Essentially, it’s one of the best ways to keep good relationships with your family, and that applies to whether it’s for your children, spouse, or in-laws.

So, what exactly can you do to avoid being that “bad parent” for not allowing them to have too much screentime? Here are some tips:

  • Set a daily time limit for screentime
  • Set clear rules on what sort of content your child can be viewing
  • Ensure you know the passwords to the devices in your home
  • Block any inappropriate sites or content on the devices your child will be viewing content on
  • Talk with your children often about the things they are viewing online
  • Spend sufficient time away from the devices
  • Sit down with your children and enjoy screentime with them. Interact, ask questions and even teach them new things about being online.

I realize being parent doesn’t come with instructions and it can be hard when trying to determine what is best for your child. When it comes to screentime, I believe moderation is best and key to helping build a future of bright, technologically advanced children.