With all of the information available on the dangers of too much screen time and the need to set time limits, there’s probably not a responsible parent left on the planet who isn’t aware that too much time in front of a digital device is harmful to kids. Actually setting up healthy time limits and (perhaps even more challenging) sticking to these agreed-upon parameters is an entirely different thing altogether.
As parenting columnist Samantha Kemp-Jackson says, in many kids’ minds, rules are made to be broken, and digital directions are no exception. Simply telling your child that it’s time to disconnect isn’t always enough. There are other important steps to take as well, including striking a healthy life-tech balance yourself and using an internet protection tool to verify that your child is indeed adhering to the rules regarding screen time.
How Much Screen Time is Too Much?
Deciding how much screen time to allow your kids is a personal decision, but be sure to make an informed one based on your child’s age and how they use their time online. While American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a mere 1-2 hours a day of screen time for kids ages 2 and up, you may find that this guideline is an impossible one to implement considering how ubiquitous Smartphones, tablets, and other Internet-ready devices have become in our society. Plus, kids are using their screen time for a variety of different purposes, some nobler than others. Most kids today rely on Internet research to do their homework, for instance, and socializing with friends has become a virtual experience for many teens as well. Even Internet use for entertainment purposes has its ups and downs depending on what apps and computer games your child chooses to engage with. For example, MIT professor Eric Klopfer likens the popular indie game Minecraft to adigital form of Legos and says it “extends kids’ reasoning skills, construction skills, and understanding of planning.” So clearly, an hour spent on Minecraft is far preferable to watching mindless YouTube videos or experimenting with dangerous apps like Tindr or ask.fm, which promote online horrors like sexting and cyberbullying.
How to Configure Time Limits with Qustodio
With Qustodio’s free Internet protection tool, you can quickly and easily set time limits for your child’s device usage. After logging into your family portal, click on the “Rules” tab and then select “Time Usage Limits.”
Then, under “Usage Schedule,” slide the button from “No” to “Yes.” This will allow you to create a screen time schedule for your child.
Now, create a custom screen time schedule for your child by clicking on the boxes in the grid. Each box represents one hour of the week. Click to turn the boxes red for the specific hours you would like your child to be unplugged.
If you want to simply set up a time limit for weekdays and weekends, you can disable the schedule feature, and enable the “Time Allowance” tool instead. Once you’ve done this, simply select the number of hours you want to allow your child.
What Happens When My Child Reaches the Limit?
What happens once your child has reached his daily screen time limit is up to you. Simply slide to enable Qustodio to lock your child’s Internet navigation, lock the device itself, and/or send you an alert to let you know that time is up.
What If I Want to Manage Time on Multiple Devices?In addition to the free internet protection tools above, we also offer our premium users the ability to manage kids’ time limits on multiple devices. To find out more, visit http://www.qustodio.com/premium/.