Screening Children from Excessive Screen Time
By Zach Simms,MS,LPC
Experts in the field of psychology reveal how they assist parents in monitoring their children’s time and experiences with today’s tech. Among the strategies mentioned are tech contracts which specifically outline how much time the child spends with the device(s) in comparison to activities throughout the day.
Dr. Jaime Maurella, Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Pathways, outlines a number of specific strategies: “Tech time should follow completion of daily responsibilities including homework and chores. All tech should be, at least intermittently, monitored (depending on the age) to screen for relational aggression, cyber bullying, and online content. Filters should be put into place to reduce the likelihood of exposure to adult content.” Dr. Maurella goes on to suggest that no screens should be used in the bedroom and that no electronics should be used 45 minutes before bedtime. Dr. Maurella also suggests that parents should take an active interest in what their children are doing on their screens and should be able to readily view what their child is doing.
Mr. Steve Cromer, a clinical counselor at Pathways, noted that screen time should be kept in balance with other activities. Mr. Cromer went on to state that parents should help their children prioritize what needs to be accomplished throughout the day and assist them with developing appropriate boundaries as to when and how long children may utilize their screens. Children should not be sacrificing meaningful social interactions to engage in activities involving screens. Mr. Cromer noted that, “screens are not the number one thing to do.”