Did you know that, according research, today’s youth between the ages of 8-18 are now spending about seven and a half hours per day consuming electronic entertainment?
According to Beverly Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in Milwaukee, Mequon, Greenfield, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa, “Although this seems almost unbelievable, it was found that on average, today’s youth daily watch about four hours of television or video, spend two hours playing video games, and are on the internet for over an hour.”
“And because many teenagers often use multiple devices simultaneously, a youth may spend a combined total of 10 or more hours daily entertaining themselves with electronics. What makes this figure even more alarming is the fact that these figures do not include time spent listening to digitally recorded music, texting, or talking on the phone.”
So how do you as a parent moderate your child’s electronic usage? Here are some helpful tips:
Be a Role Model
Minimize the time that you use electronic devices in front of your children. Let your children know that you value the powerful and useful technology available through electronics, but that family time is equally important. Encourage a “no electronics time,” perhaps after dining, when the entire family plays a board
game together or enjoys quiet reading time without being “plugged in.”
Keep Electronics Out of the Bedroom
Do not place televisions or computers in your children’s bedrooms. Likewise, do not allow hand held devices with internet access into your children’s bedrooms either. Instead, place TVs and computers in common areas within your home, such as a living or family room, and require that all hand held devices also remain in these rooms where you can monitor and limit what your children is watching or searching for.
As a parent, it is your responsibility to know what the popular games and gadgets are for children your children’s age. This way, you can discuss with your children what you feel is appropriate or not appropriate based on your family’s standards.
Make it clear to your children that electronic devices are great, but only when they are used within the rules and guidelines set by your family, and that your family has a zero tolerance rule for viewing violence or adult-themed content with electronics.
Likewise, if your children want to join a social networking site such as Facebook, only allow them to do so if they will be your “friend” on the site, so you can monitor their posts.
Ebenezer Child Care Centers will be hosting a FREE Family Fun Night on “The Wired Child” on Thursday, October 13, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at their Downtown Milwaukee Location at 340 West St. Paul Avenue across from the main post office. What can parents to do to encourage a moderate, responsible use of electronic entertainment? Many researchers, educators, and child development experts recommend a comprehensive approach involving positive role modeling, dialogue and participation, reasonable limits, and the encouragement of positive and responsible media use. Come to this Family Fun Night to learn just how to do this! Activities will include playing with orange playdough and pumpkin cookie cutters, making pumpkin noodle necklaces, and playing “Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin. In addition to the activities, you will have the opportunity to enjoy dinner on us! Registration is required. Please call 414-643-5070 to register.