What do the experts recommend?
Hilarie Cash, psychotherapist and co-author of Video Games & Your Kids
, makes the following recommendations for personal screen time (computer, TV, video games). This time does not include computer time needed for homework.
- Under 2-years-old: no screen time
- Preschool: 1 - 2 hours/day
- Elementary: 2 hours/day
- Junior/Senior High: 2 - 3 hours/day
She also recommends no TV, internet or gaming consoles in children's rooms. The primary problem with having these devices in children's bedrooms is that parents have more difficulty monitoring what's going on.
If you feel your child is addicted to video games and will react extremely to having limits set, it is wise to seek help from a professional counselor or psychologist.
Won't it be difficult to set limits?
It can be very hard to set limits around digital entertainment. These digital devices keep our children content while we benefit from some free time. However, when we realize our children's media usage is having a negative impact on them, we need to set some limits despite our children's protesting.
With older children, it can help to explain why we're concerned about the time they're spending on digital entertainment. Engaging them in deciding what reasonable limits should be set may help them in sticking to those limits.
We may also need to change our own behavior so that we are modeling reasonable digital media usage. While this won't be easy, it will provide the time to try other activities. Perhaps this will be the summer your family discovers how much fun it is to go biking together!
About Kathy Slattengren
Parenting expert Kathy Slattengren, M. Ed., is dedicated to supporting parents in doing their best parenting. She helps families create
homes where everyone feels accepted, heard, respected and appreciated.
Parents and teachers from
across the United States to Australia have been helped through Priceless Parenting's:
online parenting classes
Raising Kids Who Blossom book