Kids and screens – it’s an issue that becomes increasingly complicated as technology rapidly evolves.
We recently surveyed Australian families about internet use in their home and found the average family has around six internet enabled devices in their household. Our kids are constantly connected: through the TV, on their computers, on their phones and tablets.
Digital devices are also now an integral part of the school curriculum and kids are more frequently being required to have a tablet for class, which often goes home with a child as well.
Never has managing screen time been more important. It goes without saying that parents are anxious and have questions. What are my kids doing online? Are they actually doing school work?
Are they getting enough sleep? Do they play games past their bedtime without me knowing? How are they using their device at school?
HOW MUCH TIME ARE OUR KIDS REALLY SPENDING ONLINE?
In our recent Cyber Safety report, 63% of Australian parents revealed they are concerned with the amount of time their children are spending on their devices. The number one concern was kids missing out on physical exercise and playtime.
As our kids spend more time connected to their devices, sleep is also being impacted.
Results from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Big Sleep Survey1 found that 70% of Australian adolescents (11 – 17 years) have 2 or more electronic devices in their bedroom at night. The report, which surveyed over 1,184 adolescents, concluded that use of computers, mobile phones and televisions at higher doses was associated with delayed sleep/wake schedules and wake lag, which can lead to poor health and educational outcomes.
This is backed up by phone records showing that 45% of adolescent’s text after midnight on weeknights and 16% text after 3am. In addition, 80% of online gaming occurs after 10pm.
It is clear that in some households there is a disconnect between parent’s perception of their child’s screen time, and what is really happening.
Social media addiction, FOMO (‘fear of missing out’) and the normalisation of 24-hour social connectivity are just some of the reasons this activity is taking place at night.
Short of confiscating devices from kids, or sleeping in the same room as them, managing screen time both throughout the day and at night can be a challenge.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
If you are struggling to manage screen time, Family Zone can provide you with a number of solutions:
Set routines: Family Zone allows you to establish routines and customisable healthy time limits on internet access. You can even lock device access when time limits have been reached. All you need to do is input your kid’s school times, fun times and holidays with the desired control settings and the software will automatically adjust policy settings throughout the day.
Manage screen time in and out of home: Before Family Zone, there was no universal control platform which could be applied to every device in and out of the home. Family Zone provides you with control across mobile phones, tablets, the TV, any device which accesses the internet, wherever a child goes. So screen time can be managed and limited not just in the home but also while your child is at school, on the bus, or visiting friends.
Cyber Experts on hand to help: With our Cyber Experts on hand to provide you with the latest information, research and advice, you can be sure that you are managing screen time in the optimal way. Our Cyber Experts work with toddlers and primary aged kids, through to tweens and teenagers to provide recommendations around the appropriate amount of time a child should be spending online.
Find out more about how Family Zone can help give you peace of mind when your kids are online.
Recently my 15-year-old son asked me what I thought was a simple question: “Can I stay with some mates for the weekend out in the country?”
How was school today?
Twenty-six Aussie kids have been rescued from internet sex predators in the past year, some younger than age five, according to official ...