Most of the Paediatric Societies discourages screen-based activities (TV, video games, hand-held devices, etc) in all children under 2. The daily limit for TV watching for older children is 1 to 2 hrs.
The lesser amount of television a child watches is best for them. If your child watches excessive television then it can affect your child’s sleep, cause behaviour problems, and leaves less time for active play. The free time left should be used for other quality family activities like reading, visiting museums, walking, biking, or whatever one enjoys.
These small tips can help promote good TV habits in the house and so it protects the child from negative influences of television.
Tips for the whole family
- Good television habits in children should be started from young days as when the child grows older it becomes very hard to enforce rules and set time limits.
- Parents are the role model for there children so enculcate good habits and watch good and moral enhancing shows.
- Children should be encouraged to watch programs that help teach such as shows about nature, science, the arts, music or history.
- The rules of TV watching should be explained to all the caregivers such as nannies or grandparents. Teach your children to tell elders when they are afraid to watch a program.
- Violence should be a big no as it will also later on affect the childs behavior as a teen and an adult . They shouldn’t watch programs with violence, sex or bad language.
- Never use the TV as background noise , always turn it off when not watching it and while doing other activities like during meals and during study time.
- Television and video games should never be used in childrens bedrooms.
- Bedtime should always be fixed and it should never vary with television shows. You can always record the show and show it to the child during his off hours.
Tips for younger children (toddlers and preschoolers)
- Never use TV as a caregiver . Try to watch programs together with your child.
- Discuss the ideas and activities the child watches on the television shows ,such as sharing, giving, loving or doing the alphabet together. Follow up on all these activities and teach why these things are important.
- Maintain a recorded library of your child’s favourite shows—as they love to watch the same programs over and over again.
Tips for older children (school-aged children)
- Always supervise the choice of your child and plan a weekly viewing schedule.
- Always talk about the difference between reality , fantasy and make-believeAlways talk to your child about the programmes they are viewing and try to explain why they cant watch some shows
- Always try to fast forward advertising if the show has been recorded . If the child is watching a show try to explain about advertisement and tell them that it is a tool for selling or promoting toys and products
- Don’t permit television during the school week. Make a rule that homework and chores must be finished before your child can watch television.
Whatparents should know about social media
What is social media?
Social media are the online tools that connect people with common interests on the Internet. Social media allows users to interact with each other. Popular social networking websites include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, google, and MySpace.
There are many different ways that people use social media:
- Online profiles: Most social media sites require users to set up a profile. A profile usually includes a name, e-mail address, birth date, interests and a photo.
- Friends: They find and meet friends here.
- Messaging: Chatting on facebook, ,sending short text messages over the Internet, using instant messaging on whatsapp and between cell phones.
- Walls and boards: They allow people to send message and can be seen by several people simultaneously .
- Photo and video sharing: They allow people to share photos and videos.
- Blogs: It is like a website maintained by an individual who updates it with regular entries of text or photos and videos.Many people can read it and comment and share the content among friends who are online.
- Joining groups: Groups are formed in which several people join and get access to informations.
- To play games: There are many free games that are available , and children often play it .
How can I keep my child safe on social media ?
- You have to learn about all the technologies that the child is using.
- Tell them that you also want to learn about the latest techniques to communicate and learn it from them.
- Always keep computers in common area where you can see what the child is doing and always set a time limit for computer usage.
- Tell your child the rules for cell phone/smart phone/I phone usage – set time limits as well as tell when it is right to use the device.
- Tell them to have some technology free time for themselves .
- Always get online parental controls on all the technologies used by the child . These parental controls can block websites, enforce time limits, monitor the websites your child visits, and their online conversations. Inform your children that you are monitoring there online activities .
- Become your childs friend and discuss who all they meet on internet . Always tell them that it is very common for a person to impersonate about oneself what the person is not.
- Discuss what all can be posted online and what not.
- Children and teens can access internet from anywhere so always talk to them about it . Talk to teachers, caregivers and other parents about your rules for social media.
- If your child or teen is playing online games, join them (even if only to sit and watch) so you can see exactly what they are doing and talk to them about it.