Not all screen time falls under the one category, in-fact there are 6 types of screen time usage and as a parent it’s important to know the difference between each.
As a parent, you probably know that not all screen time is created equal, and here at ScreenCoach, we acknowledge the many benefits of screen time, as long as it’s part of a balanced life.
Screen time can be categorised into 6 types
Educational screen time: This is what a lot of children across Australia are doing at the moment due to lockdowns and home-schooling. They are using the laptop or iPad for schoolwork, watching YouTube videos that teach you how to do something like cook or craft.
Passive screen time: This is when their eyes can become glued to the screen by watching movies, TV shows, binging platforms, and YouTube for entertainment consistently.
Active screen time: This is the best type of screen time as it has the body moving, where you dance along with a video or follow a yoga class for example.
Interactive screen time: Playing video games or other gaming such as Minecraft.
Social screen time: One of the most important types of screen time in terms of what our children use frequently like talking to friends on social media or platforms such as snapchat.
Creation screen time: Although screen time is involved, getting our kids to be creative is still a positive use of screentime, creating a movie, website, or a piece of art on their device.
Deciding how much screen time is right for your child needs to be a personal choice and a continuous conversation with your kids. Some children seem to be able to tolerate more screen time than others. There are more and more reports coming out with the damaging affects of too much screen time, from behavioral issues to eye problems.
We recommend monitoring your child and taking note of what screen time works best for them and in what quantities. Talk to them about it! If they are having tech tantrums when asked to get off their screens, wait for them to calm down and have a discussion with them about how they felt and what caused the issue. Ask them what they think you both need to do about it. Talking to your child and asking them to come up with solutions - rather than simply telling them what to do - is the best way to foster co-operation.
When we look at the 6 different screen time categories, it’s important to understand that many teenagers use their laptops for more than two hours per day at school, it allows for no home recreational screen time, which here at ScreenCoach we feel is unrealistic and unreasonable for most young people.
The Australian Government Health Department makes the following recommendations with regards to children and screen time.
- Children under 2 - no screen time
- Children aged 2 - 5 years no more than 1 hour of screen time per day
- Children 6 - 17 no more than 2 hours of screen time per day.
Screen time is a big part of your child’s life and in fairness, they’ve been forced into using devices at school but it’s now up to you as a family to work out a balance of screen time and green time.
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.