Australia’s cyber safety experts say judging a child’s screen time is not so much about the hours they spend online but how it impacts their overall life.
The federal eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant has released guidelines that assist parents in assessing screen time for their children including time limits.
“There is no magic figure. The right amount of screen time can depend on a range of factors like your child’s age and maturity, the kind of content they are consuming, their learning needs and your family routine,” the eSafety Commissioner writes.
“It can be easy to focus only on the clock, but the quality and nature of what they are doing online, and your involvement, are just as important.
“Consider your child’s screen use in the context of their overall health and wellbeing.
“For example, is online time getting in the way of their sleep and exercise? Is it impacting on their face-to-face connections with family and friends? The answers to these questions will guide you and help strike the right balance of online and offline activities for your child.”
Australian eSafety Commission research shows that children spending too much time online is one of the top cyber safety concerns for parents.
More than two-thirds of parents with teenagers surveyed by the eSafety Commission believed that their child spent too much time online.
The eSafety Commission has devised steps to assist parents if they want to help their child manage their screen time including a suggestion that limiting online time as a punishment “may inflate its importance to children”.
This steps include:
“Keep an eye on the games, apps and devices your child uses,” the eSafety Commissioner writes.
“Chat with your child regularly and help them stay aware of how much time they are spending on different online and offline activities.
“Involve your child in creating a family plan for leisure and entertainment time that balances time spent sitting in front of screens — including time online and watching TV — and a variety of offline activities.”
More information can be found at: https://www.esafety.gov.au/parents/issues-and-advice/screen-time