Should we talk about… Screen time? A Ms Broccoli conversation
It’s time to have a new Ms. Broccoli conversation with your children! Today, the theme of the conversation is screen time management.
Are your dear little ones hypnotized by screens? Are you disconcerted by their insistence to watch this TV show, that TV series, or play their millionth game? How can you ensure that your child plays outside, with his friends, that he reads or stacks bricks in a real world, rather than a virtual one? There are so many questions that we encourage you to discuss with your children for 30 minutes. Enjoy!
Contents of the article :
- A conversation guide for understanding what your children do on screens, make them aware of the harmful effects of this perpetual exposure
- The “golden rules” to follow so that you and your children have a balanced approach to screen time
- What is screen time exactly?
- Ms. Broccoli’s selected reading for further subject discussion
And above all don’t forget : enjoy this pleasant moment of discussion with your children! 🙂
1- Screen time management : short discussion guide
Remember, this discussion guide is simply…a guide! The goal is not to ask each question or follow a pre-established order! These questions are just a departure point, a pretext to allow you to bring up an important subject, which your child cannot always talk about easily. If you feel that one point in particular deserves more in-depth discussion, take the time to do it.
These questions, generic and not pertaining to the subject, are just there to help you begin a conversation! If you are “warmed up”, you may skip this step !
- What is the best thing that happened to you this week?
- What cool things happened at school this week?
- What do you like most about school?
- What’s your favorite memory of vacation?
- What would you like to know how to do the most that you don’t know yet ?
- If you could write a book, what would it be about?
Questions to approach the subject…
- What are your favorite websites/apps?
- What interesting things do you find on these websites/apps?
- Can the users talk to each other? How does that work?
- What do you like about certain cartoon characters? Certain video game characters?
- How do you feel when you are sitting for too long at your desk at school ? What do you do when spending several hours on the same activity?
Questions about screen time management
- What did you learn today on your tablet? On TV ? In your game ?
- How do you feel after spending one hour behind the screen ? Are you more relaxed, more excited, or more agitated?
- Have you ever dreamed of what you saw on television, or on your tablet ?
- What brings you the most joy, a soccer match with your friends or a soccer match in your app games ? Why? What do you prefer in real life? What do you prefer on screens ? Why?
- How much time did you spend on a screen today ? Let’s calculate the time together. What do you think about it?
2- The golden rules for discussion success
The most important thing is that you listen actively to your children, without judging them, and that you and your children enjoy this exchange.
3- The 6 golden rules for having relaxed, structured, and shared screen time
Managing the time your cutie pie spends on his tablet or phone is not so easy! How can you avoid this tension, establish rules and above all what rules…in short, is it possible to find a healthy, timed, calm approach to using screens?
We can’t promise you a miracle recipe, but we’ll give you anyway in this article 6 golden rules to follow. And for you parents short on time, here are 6 golden rules…
1- You are a parent offline AND online : limits should be placed, just as in real life
2. Live by example ! Put that phone down right now. Use it only after you’ve finished reading this article, OK? 🙂
3. Designate 3 “sacred” time blocks without screens : mornings before school, mealtime, and at night before going to bed
4. Focus on quality more than quantity
5. Avoid leaving your child alone in his room in front of a screen
6. Parental control tools exist, so use them!
4- What else about screen time?
According to the Connected Kids Report 2015, today’s children (between the ages of 5 and 16 years) spend an average of six and a half hours behind a screen everyday: for the sake of comparison, in 1995, the total amount of time spent was 3 hours. A considerable leap that’s very troublesome. We often associate screen time with isolation, weight gain, and even addiction.
But can we still talk about “screen time” when screens are at this point in time a part of our daily lives? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “in a world where time spent in front of a screen is just time, our policies must evolve or become obsolete.”
5- Ms. Broccoli’s selected reading for further subject discussion
- Common Sense Media, material intended for parents
- The National Library of Medicine, discussing consequences and “guidelines” for concerned parents
- An AAP publication, American Academy of Pediatrics
- An article from Cool Mom tech, 6 screen time management solutions that work, from been-there-done-that parents
And to conclude…
30 minutes of (real) conversation with your children every week can make a considerable difference. You can’t find these 30 minutes? What if you start with 15 minutes, or even 10 minutes just to try? No television, no radio, no telephone or interruption allowed during this precious time. You will be amazed by all that you are going to discover about your children and by the positive impact of these little conversations on your relationship with your children…with the condition that you truly listen to them!
Do you have a conversation idea to suggest to Ms. Broccoli ? A comment about or an addition to this article? A personal experience that you would like to share? Contact Ms. Broccoli at firstname.lastname@example.org.