Dr. Carter encourages parents to follow the academy’s advice for maintaining a good balance between screen time and other activities:
- Use media together. Play a game with your child or watch a movie together.
- Find educational online activities for kids to enjoy, such as story hours and craft projects. Common Sense Media and PBS Kids are two good resources.
- Set your child up on a kid-friendly podcast or help him or her choose an engaging audiobook.
- Encourage kids to check in regularly with friends and loved ones using video chat or social media.
- Unplug and make time for them. Take a walk outside, play a board game, tackle a puzzle or read together.
- Set a good example by taking a break from your own technology use. If you’re stressed by the news or social media posts, your child can sense your feelings. Walk away from the technology and do something relaxing such as going for a stroll or working a crossword puzzle.
- Discuss with your child how much screen time is fair. Encourage your child to practice “tech self-control” so you don’t have to constantly remind him or her to log off.
- Be aware of which websites and apps your children are visiting.
- Handle missteps with gentle correction, using any mistakes they might make as a teachable moment.
“Digital devices have become an integral part of our world today for both adults and young people,” Dr. Carter says. “But as with anything else, moderation and responsible use are critical. Give your youngster some leeway, monitor carefully and find ways to balance screen time with other activities.”