Did you know that in most of the households, infants start using cell phones before they even turn one? Well, that’s just one appalling figure.
Experts have suggested parents to keep babies away from screens as much as possible, but with lack of interest in our kids’ digital habits, we let them stay glued to smartphones or tablets to play indie games or for listening to rhymes. I also remember how my daughter used to take my smartphone and play videos on Dailymotion all by herself just at the age of two. It was startling for me, and that’s when I questioned: how much smartphone use is okay for our kids?
According Dr. Carolyn Jaynes, learning designer at Leapfrog, kids should have no access at all to electronic devices until they are three-years-old at least. She believes that after reaching 3 years of age, kids can start learning educational content.
So here is our growth chart for much screen time is appropriate for your kids.
Between this age brackets, your kids should only be allowed up to half an hour of screen time for a day. And rather than giving them a smartphone, try to get them a tablet with larger display that will help them learn better and more easily. Avoid getting expensive tablets as there are many cheaper alternatives available.
The content that they will be viewing should be absolutely educational. So no games for your kids by this age.
By this age, you can allow your kids to spend one hour per day with an electronic device. Your kids will probably be in their elementary school by this time, and they may be asked to use computer for their school projects. Make sure that they access desktops only under your supervision.
Kids of this age will probably ask for letting them play games on the electronic devices that they are provided with. This can be allowed, but the nature of the games should still be educational. So no 8-ball pool, angry birds or subway surfers for your kids for now. You can search for many educational apps on Play Store and App store.
This is your kids pre-teen years and by now, they would probably ask you for a smartphone. But it could be too early for them to have their personal smartphone. Once their friends will have one, they will also want one.
But you can’t let them have one by this age. Explain to them why they need to be older if they want to benefit from a smartphone. However, explanation won’t work for every parent, and you might have to get your kid a smartphone. Make sure you alienate their smartphone from them during night and write down a smartphone contract for getting hold of their smartphone activity properly.
Kids can be allowed to have their smartphones or tablets with parental controls installed. But, you need to limit your kids’ access to social media and dating websites. And getting your child a smartphone doesn’t mean you are done with monitoring their smartphone activity. You still need to supervise how they can use their cell phone. Let them have no more than one hour of pure entertainment on their electronic devices.
During this age, your kids are no more kids, it’s actually their prime teen years. And you can’t really be as stringent as you had been before with their cell phone use. But if you had been monitoring them in the past, you certainly will be able enjoy some level of monitoring. But this part of their life requires you to help them understand digital safety, rather than trying to keep them away from digital media.
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