Interview-MicrophoneIn the last week I have given over 20 media interviews on children’s screentime. The interest in this topic is so intense because parents are finding it very difficult to guide and manage their child’s uses of technology. My interviews have followed on from an article I published which focused on the limitations of the current screen guidelines (which were actually developed in the 1990s!) and a better strategy for parents to use in lieu of up-to-date guidelines (read more).

My strategy is not to microcount the minutes a child is on their device but to consider the quality of what they are doing. A child may be given more time if their use of a screen is creative, and/or focuses on problem solving or developing meaningful communication skills; lesser time should then be given to passive watching of poor quality content.

The key to making this work is understanding and genuinely learning how a child engages online. An effective way to do this is for parents to regularly do some things together with their child on a device- play a game together, or plan a weekend outing. You’ll  be surprised how much better you understand your child as a technology user. This will help parents understand the quality of the content their child engages with and also to set their own family’s screen time guidelines.