Children and digital media: Tips for parents

Today’s children and teens are surrounded by digital media that influences how they feel, learn, think and behave. Overuse of digital media and screens may place your child or teen at risk of obesity, sleep problems, inappropriate sharing, online predators and cyberbullying.

It is important to teach your kids healthy digital media habits. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Make a family media agreement. It should work for you and fit with your family values and parenting style.
  • Ask what apps your kids are using. Educate yourself and help them understand why certain platforms may be dangerous. Follow your kids on their social media accounts.
  • Set limits. For toddlers, avoid digital media. For preschoolers, limit use to one hour a day. With older children, balance time in front of a screen with other activities.
  • Screen time can be interactive. View, play and engage along with your children to encourage social interactions, bonding and learning.
  • Be a good role model. Because children are great imitators, limit your own media use. Schedule times when devices are turned off.
  • Create tech-free zones. Keep family mealtimes, other family and social gatherings, and children’s bedrooms screen free.
  • Keep devices in a public place. Use and charge devices only in common living space.

We still are learning about the impact of media and digital devices on our children, but taking a balanced approach to their use and modeling that through our behavior will encourage them to make the right decisions when they become adults.

Jeremy M. Byrd, MD is a physician specializing in internal medicine/pediatrics with Heritage Pediatrics & Internal Medicine–Simpsonville. Learn more about Heritage Pediatrics & Internal Medicine–Simpsonville or find another Prisma Health pediatrician near your work or home at ghschildrens.org/pediatricians. You also can call 1-844-447-3627 for help connecting with a pediatrician.

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