The Online Corner – Managing Screen Time
The Online Corner,
Submitted by Sarah Clarke, Media Strategist and Founder of Dufferin Media as appears in the November issue of Snapd Dufferin / Caledon
MANAGING SCREEN TIME
In today’s age of technology we use our computers, cell phones, and other “screens” in pretty much every area of our lives at all hours of the day. Have you thought about how much time you are spending on screens each day? Each week? This includes time spent on your computer at work or school, on your cell phones or watching television.
HOW MUCH TIME ARE YOU SPENDING ON YOUR SCREEN?
Health experts suggest that screen time for adults should be similar to children – with 2 hours per day of screen time. However in Canada adults are spending as much as 11 hours per day on screens! This includes time spent on computers, televisions, and their smartphone or tablets.
When I think about my own screen time it is probably pretty close to 11 hours per day, which is…well that’s quite a lot isn’t it? I even use a screen to read books now!
HOW MUCH TIME IS YOUR CHILD SPENDING ON SCREENS?
85% of Parents with kids ages 6-17 agree: “I wish my child would do more things that did not involve screen time”.
Health guidelines vary from country to country and for different age groups. Most experts agree children should spend no more than 2 hours per day on screens.
This is becoming increasingly difficult during the pandemic as many children are using technology for learning and are required to spend time on screens as part of their education.
However other types of screen time such as playing games, watching videos, and participating in social media are areas that could be reduced.
Watching my own children I am concerned that they are spending too much time on their devices. I performed an experiment recently and started taking away all devices from my 12 year old ½ hour before her bedtime. She was thrilled to report not only did she go to sleep easier she felt more rested in the morning. Instead of being on her phone or computer before bed she spent the time reading or colouring.
WAYS TO REDUCE SCREEN TIME
“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach of us more than we can ever learn from books.”
Encourage hours of the day for your family that are FREE from screen time. Spend time outdoors in nature. Go for a walk. Nature is the most amazing screen time there is. Fresh air and exercise are great for your health, both physical and mental.
Pick up hobbies or activities that do not require screen time such as board games, creative art, crafts, or baking. During the quarantine we taught our kids how to play Euchre and have enjoyed many hilarious hours of card games – screen free.
Make meals screen time free zones where you interact with your family & loved ones.
Log your screen time so you are aware how much time you are spending on the computer, TV, cell phone, so you can budget if you wish to reduce certain areas of your time.
I recognize that there are many benefits of the use of screen time – education, keeping up with current events, communications, and well my entire business is online……..however it is very eye opening to realize just how much time I might be missing out on areas of life that are NOT on a screen.