Updated: Mar 25
With children at home, and stress levels at an all time high, the temptation to turn to digital media child care is real.
Let's face it, every parent could use a break at some point throughout the day, and what child doesn't care for some form of digital media?
In an article written by Marilyn Price-Mitchell PhD., she states,
"What we know for certain is that there is an association between low well-being and higher screen time." (Is Too Much Screen Time Affecting Your Child's Mental Health, PsychologyToday, 2018, November 5)
I get it, your tired, the kids are getting on your nerves, and the easiest way to get them out of your hair, and to be quiet, is to give them screen time. But, over time, this is a path that will lead to short term wins, and long term losses.
We want our children to be able to focus, to be creative, and to be emotionally stable, so we have to do things that will lead them in this direction.
Screen time isn't going anywhere, so I am not going to tell you to get rid of every source of digital media in your home, nor will I tell you that the use of electronics is an "all bad" or "all good" thing. What I will do, is encourage healthy digital media use, which includes teaching our children to critically engage with electronics. Here is a list of 5 things you can do today, to help make you and your children's media experience a positive one:
Model healthy digital media behaviors: Our children are more likely to do as we do, and not as we say. If we adhere to screen free times, zones, and healthy use of electronics, our children will be greatly influenced to do the same.
Co-view and co-play: When you critically engage in electronic usage together, this encourages discussion, and increases parent-child interaction. This also helps parents stay connected with older children. Be encouraged to engage in your child's digital media world.
Audit your child's electronics diet regularly: Consider how often your child uses electronics now, when they use electronics the most, and how often you say "yes" to electronics, to relieve your own stress.
Recognize any problem areas: When you become aware of any issues, you can better identify any tools you may need to help address the problem areas.
Create a family media use plan: Having a plan will help your family better balance your on-line and off-line lives. Creating this plan together, helps to increase family cohesion.
We live in a digital age. At a certain age, digital media abstinence is no longer the solution. You get to decide when that is, and don't feel pressured to give into the "social norms". When you do make the decision to give your children electronics, proceed with caution, and practice "safe screen time."
If your children are younger, show them healthy digital media behaviors. As they grow, engage in digital media together, teaching them how to manage their screen time. Once they become adolescents, give them the opportunity to make healthy decisions on their own.
Having a healthy approach to our digital media world will minimize potential mental health risks, and encourage an appropriate media use diet.
Family Meetings provide the perfect space for conversations regarding digital media. If you would like to get my K.I.S.S. Family Meeting agenda and Pre-Electronic Checklist, click on this post, and scroll to the end.
You can find our sample family meeting here on Instagram.
Looking for a place to begin with creating a "Family Media Use" plan? Click Here