Zoodles Blog Learn and Play Every Day

October 14, 2009

How to Set Good Screen Time Limits for Kids

Printable Screen Time ChartSince Zoodles was launched, we’ve had the chance to talk to hundreds of parents about how they handle screen time in their home. Some parents have different rules for watching TV than for playing on the computer, or for TV shows versus DVDs.  Some parents regulate screen time based on their child’s age, the time of day, or the day of the week.  Some allow their kids to watch two hours a day, some set a timer, others give their kids free reign.  Many times the TV or the computer is used as a reward for good behavior, strong report cards, or well-performed chores.

How do you control screen time at home?

If you have any tips on regulating screen time at home, share them here!

We did some research on what Common Sense Media recommends for setting screen time limits, and these are the suggestions that we found:

  1. Provide distractions.
  2. Practice togetherness.
  3. Do activities.
  4. Delegate chores.
  5. Schedule play dates.
  6. Grant privileges.
  7. Encourage creativity.

To read about each of those tips in more detail, be sure to visit the Common Sense Media website!

Does it really matter what they watch?

Of course!  We see it as both a parent’s responsibility, as well as Zoodles’ responsibility, to be extremely careful in the types of media we expose kids to.  It’s important to remember that children are affected by media differently depending on what stage of development they’re in.    For instance, preschoolers love songs and rhymes, and can be influenced heavily by the music they hear on the radio or that their parents play.

They also have trouble separating make believe from reality, and commonly imitate behavior they see.  This makes them particularly susceptible to the language and behavior they see on TV, even on educational shows from channels like PBS, Disney, and Nickelodeon. As they grow into kindergartners,  their love of humor takes off exponentially, and they continually experiment with new words and new ways of expressing themselves.  Even so, they are still surprisingly vulnerable to misunderstanding the intent of commercials or the difference between what’s real and what’s not.

With more age, a child’s freedom only increases, and kids by this time should understand for themselves the value of screen time limits, have the discipline to limit how much they watch on their own, and learn to differentiate between content that’s appropriate and inappropriate for them.

This is why it’s important to not only implement good screen time limits for you and your family, but to engage with your children in conversations about what it means to be a smart media consumer.  To do our part here at Zoodles, we are always taking careful steps to not only monitor the educational value of our content, but the level of violence involved, the presence of advertising, and the overall age-appropriateness of the content.

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2 Comments »

  1. i think this is a great post.
    i’ve worked in education for years, but it took me a while to convince my husband that “family guy” is NOT a kids show…just because it’s a cartoon doesn’t make it appropriate!

    Comment by Lua — October 28, 2009 @ 10:02 am

  2. thanks lua! family guy is definitely not making it into zoodles anytime in the near…ever. :)

    Comment by rachel — November 6, 2009 @ 2:27 pm

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