This is a sponsored guest post by Michael Peggs. The views do not necessarily reflect LWAT’s own.
There’s no doubt that tablets have made life as a parent much easier at times. Give the youngster a tablet on a long car ride and you’ll rarely hear a peep from them. Toss them the device while you’re doing chores in the same room and see endless questions drop 5000%. Of course with this beneficial technology comes a slippery slope to tackle – specifically, how much tablet time is too much? Here are some things to remember when it comes to determining whether or not to limit screen time for the kids.
Lead by Example
According to eMarketer, UK adults spent an average of 2 hours, 26 minutes each day with mobile devices in 2015, up 27 minutes from 2014 and an almost fivefold increase from 2011, when that figure stood at just 31 minutes. Remember, children take cues from their parents. If they see you staring at your screen, they are likely to mimic that behavior. “Imitation is vital to the development of abilities ranging from language to social skills,” explains Lisa Nalven, M.D., a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at the Valley Center for Child Development, in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
Your kids will imitate you. Use it as an example for good!
Balance Is Key
A new TLF Panel survey conducted on behalf of kids clothing retailer Vertbaudet.co.uk found that four in five parents believe technology and gadgets are good for kids, aiding in their development. Like everything else, balance is key. For every hour spent looking at a fantasy football or reality TV show website, there should be at least an hour of physical activity. You might also consider using the 20-20-20 Rule. Every 20 minutes or so, make your children take 20 seconds to look at something that’s 20 feet away. Suggest going a step further and walking to that object, thus incorporating physical activity multiples times each hour.
Finding balance and not spending too much consecutive time on the tablet is the healthiest rule for kids – even if it takes parental controls.
Tablets Are a Learning Tool, Too
It should be noted that tablets can be a very effective educational tool and not just a device to watch other people play Minecraft. According to an article in Gizmodo, 47% of teachers strongly agreed, and an additional 44% somewhat agreed, that students need digital literacy courses to be successful academically and beyond. Family reunion games and educational apps have been show to stimulate the brain in and outside the classroom, but once again balance is key. Even if a child is playing with school apps, actual human interaction helps to develop the social skills only teachable in the “real world.”
Create a ‘Tablet Time’
All parents understand the benefits of a routine and the importance of scheduling. Each day, set aside an hour for Tablet Time. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, children over the age of 2 should be limited to 1 to 2 hours of total screen time. It could be why mommy or daddy are making supper, doing laundry, winding down for the night, etc. but cordoning only certain sections of the day for tablet use will make the kids appreciate it better.
Michael Peggs is the founder of content marketing agency and SEO agency Marccx Media, where they specialize in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.