Screen time. So many concerns come to mind as a parent when you read those words.
What is too much? What is healthy? What is educational and what is not? What is good for a child forming friendships and relationships online? What is dangerous?
With social media and smartphones still a relatively new phenomenon, the verdict is still out on the long-term effects of screens on our kids. I know many of you worry about this, especially now when you have probably passed your child your phone or tablet much more than usual in recent months. All parents are desperate to keep their children from boredom right now when their usual activities are on hold, this is understandable.
At the same time, you’re conflicted about when and how your child can safely use devices.
Pew Research recently surveyed over 3,000 parents about their thoughts on screen time and their kids. They found…
“Roughly seven-in-ten parents think that children under the age of 12 using smartphones will hurt their ability to learn effective social skills (71%) or develop healthy friendships (68%). And just over half of all parents – 54% – say younger kids’ engagement with these devices will hurt their ability to do well in school.
At the same time, 67% of parents say their child age 11 or younger uses or interacts with a tablet computer, and 60% say the same for smartphones.”
Two-thirds of parents also agree that the digital age has made parenting harder than it was 20 years ago.
I have to agree. I’ve written about screen time often in the last few years as this is such a hot debate and concern for parents. And it’s not just about their kids. Parents are concerned about their own screen time. As the survey found:
“When asked if they spend too much, too little or not enough time on their smartphone, more than half (56%) of parents who have a minor child, but who may also have adult children, say they spend too much time on their smartphone, while about seven-in-ten (68%) say they are at least sometimes distracted by their phone when spending time with their children.”
Parents are worried about their own screen time. Parents are worried about their kids’ screen time. For this reason, I want to pose my final summer challenge to you: The Summer Social Media Challenge.
But this challenge has less to do with time spent on the screen and more to do with what you’re using that time for. If the idea of limiting your child’s screen time only to hear your child throw a fit over it each day stresses you out more than the potential effects that screen time may be having on your child, this challenge is for you.