Parents know all too well the digital dilemma – when or how much to allow your kids to use an electronic device or surf the web.
“I just think that it’s not going anywhere so we just have to limit it as best as we can,” said Denise Hill.
Hill is a mom of four young children and is navigating the digital dilemma for her own family.
“I like to turn it on in a central location, instead of him taking an iPad to a separate room and leaving. You kind of lose track of time that way. A central location helps limit the time. ”
Hill says with her 4-year-old Griffin, they found he was becoming too dependent on his device.
“He would wake up right in the morning and literally that was the first thing out of his mouth, he would say can I watch the iPad? And we’re like no, you need to do something else. Then it became a big fight every morning. ”
She says in their case they were lucky the screen broke, and they had to send it away to fix.
“It was hard for the first few days to adjust but then after a week or two, his mood was better. He was less irritable and just wanted to do other things, so that was nice. ”
“Like anything positive, too much of it or using it in the wrong way, can turn out to be a negative,” said Andree Miceli, Behavioral Health Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah.
As tough as it may be, Miceli said it’s up to parents to set healthy screen time limits with their children.
“The role of a parent as with any activity is to provide structure and guidance,” said Miceli.
Miceli said it's important for parents to model good behavior themselves, putting cellphones away at the table.
It’s also a good idea to fully wake up before scrolling online, unplug and go outside, and use what would have been normal screen time to read or write in a journal.
“Though screen time can be used for work, school, family and for fun, it can also really suck us in, and that is what you want to avoid," said Miceli.