Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Guest Post: Take a Tech Break

We are excited to have Carrie Rogers-Whitehead contribute to our blog this week. She is the founder of Digital Respons-Ability

A recent Common Sense Media report said that mobile screen usage has tripled among young children in four years. Children 8 and younger spend 48 minutes a day staring at a mobile screen and almost half of children this age are reported to own their own tablet.

Technology can be an amazing way to communicate, entertain and provide extension to learning activities. However, there must be a balance and for young children, they learn through people, not metal and plastic.

While the amount of screen time in this age group has increased, one of the best things for children, reading or being read to remains at 30 minutes a day. Parents are children's first teachers and the behavior they model, whether by reading, or staring at a screen, are behaviors children emulate.

Consider taking a tech break in your home. Taking a break models healthy digital behavior, allows more time for personal interactions and can help get everyone a good night's rest.

Here are some ideas for tech free times in the home:

  •   Determine a set device free time. For young children, sleep is particularly important. Screens emit a blue light, which can hold back the production of melatonin which regulates the sleep cycle. Putting the screen away at an earlier time of the day will help provide a restful sleep.
  •      Keep the device outside of the bedroom at night. Buzzing, pinging screens flipping on can disturb a good night's rest. When putting away devices, keep them away from the bedroom in a designated area.
  •      Ban devices during family meal times. Family meals are a time to talk and bond as a family. Ban or severely limit devices during these times. For support and resources follow the hashtag #devicefreedinner.
  •      Use timers for devices. Set a timer for games or other entertainment on screens. Many apps designed for children have built-in timers that adults can set. Using a timer not only limits screen time but gives the child time to transition from one activity to the next.

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