Kids and Screen Time
“Screen Time” – Help or Hindrance?
October 17, 2017
A frequent topic that comes up in my counselling sessions is concerns regarding whether “screen time” is a help, or a hindrance. Interactive social media such as smartphones, and tablets can provide children, teens and adults with many benefits that include instant entertainment, access to an abundance of information, further the development of long-distance relationships, and manage behaviours (i.e. reduce meltdowns and boredom) (Radesky, Schumacher & Zuckerman, 2015). However, its benefits do not negate its limitations in that it can be frequently used as a tool to regulate behaviour (i.e. electronic “babysitter”), result in underdeveloped skills (i.e. empathy and problem solving) and negatively impact interpersonal interactions (Radesky et al., 2015).
A combination of balance, intentionality, mindfulness and creativity can be essential in “screen time” management. Here are some ideas to get you started:
-Read one chapter in a book as opposed to scrolling through your Facebook feed
-Host a family game night instead of independently playing games on a tablet
-Write down five things that made you feel happy that day instead of browsing Instagram
-Write a letter to a loved one instead of a text, or email
-Have a colouring party with your child instead of watching Netflix
Justine Nowosiadly B.A., M.A.
Justine is a child, youth and family therapist in Oakville and Hamilton, Ontario. She specializes in ADHD, anxiety, anger management, loss and grief, self-esteem and social skills development among others.
Radesky, J., S., Schumacher, J., & Zuckerman, B. (2015). Mobile and interactive media use by young children: The good, the bad, and the unknown. Paediatrics, 135(1), 1-3. doi:10.1542/peds.2014-2251