Children are now spending too much time on the Internet. But the sad thing is that some parents strictly ban their children from using their phones, while the rest let their children use them freely use your phone without knowing what their child is watching.

If children use phones regardless of day and night, in addition to health problems, children are also at risk of encountering harmful content and affecting their psychology for life.

That’s why modern parents, update your knowledge now with this article “Updated parental guideline to manage kids’ screen time in 2023“!

Harmful effects of over-screen time

manage kids' screen time

Spending too much time on screens can negatively affect both physical and mental health. Some of the potentially harmful effects of over-screen time include:

  • Eye strain and headaches: Prolonged screen use can lead to dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches.
  • Poor sleep: The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. As a result, it can be harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Back and neck pain: Sitting in front of a screen for prolonged periods can lead to poor posture and strain on the neck and back.
  • Social isolation: Spending too much time on screens can lead to less face-to-face interaction with friends and family, contributing to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Risk of addiction: Spending a lot of time on screens can lead to an unhealthy attachment to the device, which can feel satisfying and fulfilling, but can interfere with normal daily functioning.

It’s important to be mindful of the time spent on screens and set limits when necessary. Encourage regular breaks and physical activity and establish a routine of healthy habits, such as eating well, getting enough sleep, and limiting screen time for kids in the hours leading up to bedtime.

Why over-screen time is bad for kids?

  • One example of the harmful effects of over-screen time is poor sleep. The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. This can make it harder for people to fall asleep and stay asleep, leading to insomnia or other sleep disorders.

As a result, they may feel tired and groggy during the day, which can negatively impact their mood, energy levels, and ability to focus on tasks. This, in turn, can lead to poor performance at work or school and an increased risk of accidents or errors.

manage kids' screen time

  • Another example is the strain on physical health caused by prolonged screen time. Sitting in front of a screen for prolonged periods can lead to poor posture and strain on the neck and back, which can result in muscle pain, stiffness, and headaches. Additionally, spending too much time in screens can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which increases the risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Finally, over-screen time also has an impact on mental health as well. Children who spend excessive time in front of screens may be at higher risk for developing behavioral and attention problems, and people of all ages who spend excessive time on screens may be at higher risk for depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

How to limit screen time for kids is a hard question, but it is possible to do. Let’s find out in the next part screen time recommendations for children for 4 age groups.

How much screen time is appropriate –  recommend screen time limits by age

0-5 years old

If the parent is the extremely careful type of parent, the parent will not let their children watch TV at this age. Babies around 6 months old begin to have their initial perceptions of sounds and images. Parents must control the screen time of children under 5 years old because of health consequences such as myopia and mental health as mentioned above.

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There are some simple things parents need to keep in mind when letting their children use phones at such a young age:

  • Establish rules for using phones both inside and outside the home. See if your child’s screen time adds real-world knowledge to your child or is simply entertaining before showing it to your child.
  • Create a “Free Devices zones” area to ensure the proper usage habits of your child. All devices should be turned off within 1 hour before the whole family goes to bed.
  • Play and share with your kids every day: Teach your kids ways to stay safe online. In addition, parents should encourage their children to share what they like or don’t like after each time they go online to increase family cohesion.
  • Find the right content for your child and ensure the content they watch is appropriate for their age: By incorporating technology into their lives, parents can better protect their children daily.

5-7 years old

5-7 years old is the age when children begin to interact more with the outside world. The use of phones can also be somewhat beneficial in children’s development of thinking and creativity at this age. However, exposure to blue light screens when under the age of 7 increases the risk of children with myopia and some other physical health problems such as obesity or a sedentary lifestyle in children.

manage kids' screen time

For children to use phones reasonably at the age of 5-7, parents should note a few things as follows:

  • Set up a rule for using the phone, and the whole family agrees to it. Encourage your child to stop rolling his eyes outside after 30 minutes of continuous screen time to protect his eyes.
  • Understand and share your child’s online time: Make sure your child divides their time properly between studying, playing, socializing with friends and family, and even time away from the phone.
  • Set an example for your children about proper device use: Parents should set an example for their children and follow that rule every day. Like turning off the device before bedtime or leaving the phone outside the “device-free” area like the dining table.

7-11 years old

Children at this age have one more requirement: playing games, and playing games often requires borrowing their parents’ phones/tablets/laptops. This case is quite complicated. To solve this, children should have their tablets

Some useful tips for parents when leaving their children online at the age of 7-11 years old

  • Establish a time limit together: Talk to your child about why balancing sleep, school, and family time is important. Above all, parents should let their children have the autonomy to turn off all devices for a limited time.
  • Educate your child to deal with dangers online: make sure he or she knows when to seek adult help (e.g. when sensitive images are sent, when stolen personal information is, or when spoofed online).
  • Use technology to manage your child’s time online: Use technology to help manage your children’s time online so they don’t have to look at the screen of their phone or iPad for too long a day.

manage kids' screen time

If you have ever been:

  • Anxious when letting children go online, afraid they will be exposed to toxic content?
  • Exhausted when you have to count their screen time and constantly remind them to turn off the device?
  • Weary when they keep begging for “5 more mins” but it always lasts more than 30 mins?

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11-14 years old

This is the age when young people begin to have social interactions online, and the guidance and control of the interactive environment must be carried out strictly.

Not creating a social network account for children as it is no coincidence that social networking apps like TikTok and Facebook are all labeled 13+, it is extremely dangerous for children to innocently jump into a social media platform.

manage kids' screen time

Some tips for parents to limit the time their kids spend on cell phones between the ages of 11 and 14:

  • Set online time limits and help your child develop good habits: let your child know the health dangers of being online late at night. Establish healthy, limited online habits in your teen years.
  • Be proactive in participating in the online world with your child: The more parents participate in discussions with their children about things they encounter online, the more they will trust and share their problems with their family in the future.
  • Warn your kids about dangers online: Educate them about online dangers and age-inappropriate behaviors like sexting and negative digital footprints, etc.

14+ years old

Social networks usually require children to be over 13 to sign up for an account. However, after 10, the need to interact with classmates is quite high, then choosing what social app to use depends a lot on the friends and connections around your children. That is why parents must stay close to guide their children.

Don’t forget to teach them about:

  • Account Security
  • How to create and save passwords
  • How to get back your social media account when you lose your password, etc.

These are the first online safety skill that children need to learn.

manage kids' screen time

Some tips for parents to limit the time their children use phones at the age of 14+:

  • Help your child prioritize more important things to do: Keep your child’s phone on “do not disturb” or “airplane” mode to focus on more important things like homework or spending time with family.
  • Be proactive in participating in the online world with your child: The more parents participate in discussions with their children about things they encounter online, the more they will trust and share their problems with their family in the future.
  • Encourage your child to proactively limit their online time: Offer a few suggestions for tools to help them control their daily online time. Some social network management tools allow notifications about the total time users have been online to remind and help balance children when using the phone.

In short, parents still have to always support their children for their children’s online safety, but don’t forget to give them their own space so that they can be independent and in control of their behavior. Parents should not be too intrusive in the privacy of their children.

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