Posted on 16 June 2020 by Erica
Here at the Classification Office we watch a LOT of content. Whether we’re classifying films, DVDs, video games, porn (yes, this is part of our job), or videos and imagery for law enforcement, we’re online and on screens most of the time. As adults who work in media regulation and classification we’ve become used to managing our time in front of the black mirror.
But we know that screen time is a particular point of concern for parents when it comes to their kids and teens (particularly when we all spent so much time online during lockdown!).
So how much is TOO much?
The answer isn’t black and white - not all screen time is created equal. Quality is more important than quantity. So before you start feeling too guilty for plopping the kids in front of a screen to save your sanity, or go yelling at them to put down the laptop, ask yourself some simple questions around how they’re using that screen time:
Each one of these activities serves a different purpose in a child or teen’s life, and each has positive attributes. And as a parent you can enhance the value of that screen time by being interested in what they watch, and then engaging with them in some of these activities. Things like playing video games together, sharing shows, and asking questions that help them think about what they’re watching. Spending time with them, listening to them, and learning together is a valuable part of bonding.
And as with all things, moderation is key. Ideally screen time should be balanced with other indoor activities (reading, chores, cooking, playing games), outdoor activities (like gardening, playing sports, walking the dog or riding a bike), eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, and above all, being present in the moment. It’s a good reminder for parents too, that our kids value our attention – putting down our own phones and shutting down our laptops is just as good for us. No matter what age we are, these questions are useful for all of us when thinking about how we’re spending our time online.
To comment as a guest without having to login, click inside the comment field below. This will reveal a field labelled "Name". Click in the "Name" field to reveal the "I'd rather post as a guest" checkbox. Tick this checkbox and then fill in your name and email address. You can use a nickname if you don't want to use your real name. Happy commenting!