How much time should kids spend on the phone? This is a common question that a lot of parents ask. When it comes to screen time on a phone or tablet and kids it seems like everyone tells you something different, and it seems like they’re always changing what they’re saying too. With my kids I try to go by the general guidelines of our pediatrician and use my own better judgement. The pediatrician says no more than an hour a day for my grade school aged kids is best.
I think that’s a pretty good guideline, but of course there are days that they spend more than that on their iPads. When I think they’ve had enough I let them know it’s time to do something else. And if they’re really begging for extra screen time I’ll make them work for it. Cleaning their rooms or doing some reading from an old fashioned paper book can earn them some additional screen time. I find mood being a good indication of when they’ve had too much screen time too. If they start to get too whiny it’s time to take a break. There are also times when mood can get in the way and then the phone and all other electronics get taken away. After they settle down from being mad, you can show them what other fun games they can play without the need for electronics.
So now, how much time should kids spend on the phone? As far as what they’re doing on their devices, each of my kids is different. My 7-year-old, she uses her tablet primarily for watching videos. She does some gaming too, but spends most of her tablet time watching things on the YouTube Kids app. When she’s using this app I don’t have to worry about what she’s watching because I know there won’t be any bad language or things that are inappropriate for her age. The videos tend to get repetitive, but she doesn’t seem to mind. When she’s gaming, she’s usually playing Roblox or Minecraft. Both games she’ll play with her brother and/or her friends. Roblox is a lot of games rolled into one. There’s a whole community of gamers building obstacle courses and towns and all sorts of stuff in the games. The only thing I watch out for on that game is player to player communication since I don’t know if there are any restrictions for what someone can say. Minecraft is like digital Legos and at least when the kids are playing that they are using their brains a little to build something and interact with this digital world.
My 10-year-old, on the other hand, uses his tablet primarily for gaming and will use his for watching videos if he’s not playing a game. When he’s gaming, he plays Roblox and Minecraft most of the time as well. Since there’s such a variety of things you can do with both games they appeal to all types of gamers. If he’s watching a video he tends to go with regular YouTube and watches a lot of videos about video games and videos of people playing video games (which I don’t understand at all). Since he watches videos on YouTube and they don’t have filters I try to monitor what he’s watching more.
No matter what your thought is on screen time for kids, it seems everyone has a different opinion on the subject. How much time should kids spend on the phone? It’s best to find a balance between screen time and other activities so your kids’ heads don’t turn into mush.