Making the most (or least!) of your family’s screen time 

Tips for protecting your kids from excess screen time and data privacy concerns 

06.10.2021

Let’s face it. The internet can be a scary and dark place; however, it wasn’t created to be that way. There are lots of benefits of our increased use of screens, so how do we focus on those, while creating important boundaries? Screen time for kids can be tricky! Here are some ways to help your children learn time management and balance in our ever changing world of technology, all while keeping their data safe.

Family Data Privacy and Protection

Before entering the great abyss known as the internet, let’s set some ground rules. The best thing you can do is have an open dialogue with your kids and explain the importance of internet safety and privacy. Stats show that 92% of children have an online presence before the age of 2, so it isn’t a question of if your kids will be online, it is when. While a lot of good can come out of this space, it is very broad, which can leave room for questionable things to occur. Most companies aren’t going to have your child’s best interest at heart, let alone your family’s. Many companies actually subsidize the cost of their products by trading your family’s data – which is a big price to pay (it should go without saying that this isn’t the case with Hearth – we are a closed network that anonymizes family data). Here are some starting points for setting online boundaries with your kids:

  • Don’t talk to people you don’t know
  • Don’t give out your personal information
  • Don’t visit unapproved websites
  • Don’t post or comment something you’d be embarrassed if it was forwarded 
  • Do tell an adult if something weird happens
  • Do understand phishing scams – if something seems strange, it probably is!

Once you’ve established the importance of being safe online with your kids and why family data privacy is important, here are some steps you can take to further protect your children:

  • Research new apps and websites prior to their use
  • Turn the location settings off
  • Adjust the privacy under settings within the site before use
  • Familiarize yourself with COPPA (The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act)

Family Screen Time Boundaries

Now that we are set up for safety online, let’s talk about screen time for kids. Most of us know about the studies that say no screen time before they are two, but what about those old enough to handle it? Screens are being introduced without much thought or ground rules; so is it any wonder that by the time children are teenagers they are spending around 9 hours online on average each day? Try instilling time management lessons with your kids early on so they can have a respectable relationship with tech and avoid screen addiction. Tips for managing kids’ screen time:

  • Limit screen time - Start with a reasonable amount for your family and tweak it from there. Remember, it’s going to be easier to increase screen time down the road rather than reduce it, so start smaller and take baby steps when needed.
  • Prioritize single-use technology - iPads are cool and all, but they can be used for just about any purpose , which means they can be more easily abused. When you use a single-purpose product like Hearth Display, not only can it not be taken into their room, but it also teaches healthy and productive ways to utilize screens.
  • Include on-screen learning - They want screentime? At least make it a learning opportunity that engages their brain and not just a mindless activity. There are plenty of programs that go behind an endless scroll or video cycle. 
  • Focus on it as a reward instead of an every time occurrence - Don’t get caught up in the “no screen time” answer, as that will only make it more desirable. Be firm in the screen time limits you set and allow them to use it as they please within that boundary. Allow them to earn extra time by completing tasks or finishing chores. Hearth Display can help you track these routines and rewards , so the “yes” or “no” doesn’t even have to come from you.

Most importantly, be a good role model with tech. Kids often imitate what they see, so be sure to follow the boundaries you set like “no phones at the dinner table” or “no iPads in bedrooms.” Be intentional about time with them without technology and they will in turn see the value as well. You might just benefit from these confines too!

Looking for more tips on teaching your kids time management, beyond screen time? Check out these 5 family planner hacks that will get your children involved too. Click here to learn more about Hearth Display and learn more about our pre-orders!

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