It’s great that you got your kids off their screens, but it’s just as important to now monitor their off-screen time too. Digital technology and kids expert Dr Kristy Goodwin explains why.
With such a focus on what our kids are doing on their screens, maybe it’s time to focus on what they are doing when they are off their screens too? You may have been vigilant with monitoring your child’s screen time but as soon as that golden moment happens of the screens going down . . . What is your child doing?
Digital technology and kids expert Dr Kristy Goodwin says the problem lies less with the actual time on screens - and more with what the children are NOT doing due to so much screen time. Rather than measuring their screen time, she suggests it is imperative to make sure that kids are doing the following:
Having enough exercise
At least an hour of physical activity and outdoor time each day. In a study done by the ABS in 2011-12, less than one-quarter (23%) of children aged 5–14 undertook the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day… goodness only knows what that number is since Covid and constant lockdowns.
Getting enough sleep
Turning screens off at least an hour before bedtime is important. The Australian Department of Health recommends between 9-11 hours of sleep for children (aged 5-13 years) and between 8-10 hours of sleep for adolescents (aged 14-17 years).
Getting real-life human interaction
Face-to face interaction with their friends and family where possible. Ironically the majority of this is done virtually, but even talking to a neighbour over the fence will have a positive impact.
Contributing to the household chores and family time
This is where ScreenCoach will benefit the off-screen time, they can earn rewards by doing chores to utilize when they are back on their screens. Family bonding is vital, and this is up to all family members to initiate and coordinate.
Reading and doing their homework
Sitting on their bed in a relaxed frame of mind, reading a hard copy book will do them wonders. Or putting pencil to paper by doing homework or even writing in a journal.
Other non-screen creative play
This could be something fun such as dress-ups, Lego, role playing, cards or board games, art, or music. It’s important to stimulate their creativity and interest in different ways.
We know parents are busier than normal at the moment but creating a simple list of off-screen activities and sticking it on the fridge is important in helping your child find a screen time balance and fuel their body with important activities to keep them moving and stimulated.
Written by Stephanie Kakris who has a Masters in Psychology and is a published parenting author. She is the co-founder of ScreenCoach, a combined hardware and software platform where kids are allocated a set amount of screen time, and after their time is up, they need to go and complete activities such as exercise, chores or non-screen play to earn more time before they can resume.
Contribution and comment by Dr Kristy Goodwin https://drkristygoodwin.com/