Parents should encourage their children to adopt healthy habits like physical exercise, a nutritious diet and getting sound sleep instead of spending long periods of time on electronic devices. Here, we provide you a few guidelines that describe how and when screens are used based on age rather than the prescribed time limits of low and medium exposure to the electronic devices.
1. Avoiding the fights by starting the screen-time limits and the digital literacy talks with families early.
2. Excessive and isolated use of screens can be more harmful to kids and teenagers, especially if they are permitted in their bedrooms. Families having children aged five to 12 years should watch educational programs together, emphasising more on positive social skills. The time to start having conversations about screen time and setting rules is when kids are in pre-school and also to model good behaviour, such as not texting while driving.
3. It's much more difficult to pull back with a teenager. Families, kids and teens should have the conversations about how screens can fit into the lives in a productive way rather than detracting from all the other healthy habits we're hoping they've already prioritised. Have these conversations, honestly and openly with teens and do it at a time when there's not a fight.
4. Teachers are increasingly finding students' use of phones in the classroom a huge distraction which can interfere with their studies and schools are in the same position as parents when they find themselves in a conflict over excessive use of electronic devices. Banning mobile phones in schools, setting rules to deal with the devices and teachers formulating their own guidelines in schools could be great.