What’s the best way to manage screen time in your home?

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Baby yum yum - how to manage screen time in the home
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According to 54% of our readers[1], the golden rule is that screen time is a privilege that can only be earned by completing homework and chores, while 39% say they limit screen time in their homes – to anything from 20 minutes to 2 hours.

“As we navigate the digital world, it’s important that we remain mindful of how we use technology to enhance our experience and connections – unlocking its benefits in the home, while protecting our loved ones at the same time,” says Michelle Wynne, Head of Marketing for Sub Sahara Africa at HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones.

On behalf of BabyYumYum.co.za, Karabo Mokoena from Black Mom Chronicles recently hosted an Instagram Live chat with Michelle Wynne, where they discussed the tools and tricks to ensure our parenting community is empowered to make the most of their children’s screen time.

Key considerations include:

1. Learn and play together – explore technology and the online world as a family and make this quality time to connect

Thirty five percent (35%) of readers referenced that screen time went hand-in-hand with learning and educational purposes. While this supports mindful use, it’s important to remember that learning also takes place when our children play – as long as it’s joyful, iterative, meaningful, actively engaging, and socially interactive experiences.

Don Dinnematin, HMD Global ambassador, and father of three and an award-winning blogger, reiterated the latter; “The often untold value of technology is when we use it together, like watching a movie or playing a game as a family. It provides a collective experience and can facilitate communication beyond the content viewed.”

Apps like Duolingo ABC’s Learn to Read and Google Kids Space are designed specifically to help children learn, play, discover, create, and grow in a safe and easy-to-use environment. Duolingo ABC is a fun and effective way for your child to learn to read and write in English, with bite-sized lessons about the alphabet and vocabulary, among others. While Google Kids Space, a trusted kid’s mode that has quality content such as apps, books and videos recommended based on the interests children choose, and is approved and hand-picked by teachers and experts. It works with the child’s Google Account, which parents can help manage with Family Link parental controls. Through the Family Link app, parents can guide their children’s experience by managing content and setting screen time limits through their own device.

Playing and learning together also gives parents and guardians an opportunity see what younger children are doing, what games they’re playing, and who they are talking to. It will help ensure that the games, apps and platforms used are from reputable sources, and enable parents and guardians to moderate content, settings and features so that children can enjoy the benefits of the vast online world, without the associated risks.

how do you limit screen time in the home: nokia t20 tablet

2. Set clear guidelines and rules for technology and online use – and explain why these rules are in place to protect them

These guidelines shouldn’t only be in place for young children, they should also apply to teenagers – and adults should set the example.

“Kids do what you do instead of what you say, so if you say screen time is over for them it should also be over for you as well,” says Ntombomzi ‘Bomzi’ Lekgoro, DJ, celebrity hairstylist, HMD Global ambassador and mom.

Rules will differ from family to family but can include determining how long family members are allowed to use technology and the Internet or play games each day, as well as any sites, apps or platforms that may be off-limits and why.

It’s also important to highlight the need to keep personal information private – and to help younger family members by teaching them to ask for permission before sharing personal information with others. Assist them in creating strong passwords or PINs to protect their devices and online accounts. All family members need to be vigilant, but it’s particularly critical for children who may not be aware of the risks.

how to manage screen time in the home: nokia t20 tablet

3. Choose the right apps and devices for your needs, with a focus on built-in safety and security

Most devices and technology today come with software, security and safety tools built-in to help protect users, like security patches, firewalls and antiviruses. This also includes family safety tools to block harmful content, manage the sites children visit and their time online, filter violent or explicit content, and monitor contacts, and used together they offer extra protection.

It’s vital to boost these defenses where possible and keep all software up-to-date.

“At HMD Global, we have worked to ensure that our Nokia T20 tablet ticks all these boxes to help family members of any age work, learn and play with a tablet designed to last. It is packed with innovative and accessible features you and your children will love.” says Michelle.

It not only features two years of operating system updates and three years of security updates, it has been designed, built and tested to last, with a longer battery life to power up to seven hours of online meetings, 10 hours of movies or 15 hours of surfing the web. Its durability, versatility and lasting battery life not only help navigate the world as adults, but also help to get in some extra hours for their children to learn new skills in a fun, easy-to-navigate way – also featuring Google Kids Space.

With the right tools and approach, technology can add value to our children’s lives and offer moments to connect, learn and enjoy periods of escapism that is second to none.

“Balance for your family will look different than it will for your neighbour because every family is unique and parenting styles and values vary. In general, though, if your family can reap the benefits of technology without feeling many of the potentially harmful effects and you feel confident in how your children are using technology, you’ve likely found balance,” adds Don.

 

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[1] Based on 233 reader responses to a survey question on Baby Yum Yum’s Facebook page 3 August 2022.

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