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How to find balance and boundaries with kids and their screen time

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Screen time is nearly unavoidable for our kids these days. Many use computers for homework and tablets for reading. These gadgets are now part of our kids' lives and learning ...

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Screen time is nearly unavoidable for our kids these days. Many use computers for homework and tablets for reading.

These gadgets are now part of our kids' lives and learning experiences, but how much screen time is just too much?

Parenting expert, psychologist and author Reena Patel visited Morning Extra with some tips on how to maintain a healthy balance for our kids.

Some ideas from Reena include:

  •  It’s recommended that children under the age of two not be exposed to screen time at all. For children over the age of two, it’s recommended that the screen time be kept to one to two hours per day at the most.
  •  Discuss the screen time challenges with your children, especially when they are adolescents and teens, so they understand the concerns. Ask your child what the pros and cons are of unlimited or excessive use of devices. Devise a plan for using screens, which limits the amount of time they can be used each day. When children are involved with developing the plan, they are more likely to follow the rules they helped create.
  •  Encourage kids to create a balance between screen time and non-screen time. It’s important that kids of all ages engage in physical and social activities that do not involve the usage of screens. Encourage them to have real-life relationships, rather than their friendships being all online or done through electronics.
  •  Create rules that will help give them boundaries about when they can use their devices. For example, no devices at meals, and no phones allowed in their bedrooms overnight.
  •  Find non-screen activities that the whole family can engage in. This will help them create bonds and learn healthy social behaviors.
  •  Use positive parenting techniques when working with kids to help teach them the limits of screen and social media time.
  •  Be the example that you want them to follow. From young children to teens, they are watching what parents do when it comes to screen time. Parents who overuse screen time are setting that same example for their children. Having healthy screen habits will teach children to do the same.
  •  Parents should be familiar with all the apps and devices their children use. They should have access to the social media apps as well. Ex: Instagram can be created and monitored from a parents account and note on social media pages that it is “parent monitored.” Also, become familiar with Internet safety, including setting parental controls, and how to avoid giving too much personal information online.

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