In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Michael Rich, director of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Center on Media and Child Health and the Clinic for Interactive Media and Internet Disorders, offers tips to parents who are concerned about the time their kids spend online or in front of a screen. Here they are:
- Worry when their lives or health are impaired by it. This could show up as sleep disturbances, bad grades or withdrawal from activities they used to love.
- Play a game with a child.By doing so, a parent is letting their child "know that you care about them and what they’re interested in; you care enough to be their student in how to do it."
- Think with a child through a 24 hour day.Schedule a day that includes sleep, physical exercise and other activities. That way, online time is just one of many activities.
- Avoid using devices as babysitters for very young children.
- Communicate with children.It's vital that parents also monitor how much time they are spending on screens.
- Create device-free zones in the home.Otherwise, we are all distracted by the devices and we are not looking at and listening to each other.
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