Step 1: role-model healthy screen use Your own screen use and how you talk about it sends powerful messages to your child about the place screens should have in family life. For example, if you switch your phone off at meal times, your child learns that focusing on family is very important to you. Keeping track of your screen use can help you understand the messages you might be sending. If your phone has a tracking feature, you could use this to track your use. You could ask your child to keep track as well. You and your child could compare your usage and talk about whether there’s anything you’d like to change. It’s also good to talk with your child about the apps you use, the people and groups you follow, or interesting things you’ve read. This helps to create a safe, trusting environment at home where it’s OK to talk openly about screen use.
Step 2: get to know your child as a technology user Getting to know your child as a technology user will help you understand your child’s technology interests, needs and worries. You can do this by asking your child to talk about how they use screens and what they use them for. You might find that your child uses screens in ways that you just don’t understand. You could ask your child to teach you a game so that you get a sense of why your child likes it so much.
Step 3: use good-quality content When using screens, stick to good-quality content that ties in with your child’s interests, sparks their imagination or builds on something they’re learning at school. Encourage your child to use good-quality apps, games, TV shows, movies and YouTube videos by talking together about the information, ideas and activities in the media your child is using. You can also help your child make informed choices by showing them how to find reliable reviews of digital media and content. It’s a good idea to let your child see you making good-quality choices about what you use or watch. Talking about your choices with your child is important too. There are probably many screens in your home, so be aware of what your child might be seeing. For example, some images on the news or in video games can be quite violent and distressing, even for young children who don’t understand what they’re seeing.
Step 4: negotiate rules for family screen time and use Rules are a way of managing screen time and use. They can help everyone understand your family’s expectations about screen time and use.
Here are questions to help you negotiate family screen use rules:
Step 5: use screens together Sharing screen time with your child can be a great way to build trust, connection and communication and strengthen your relationship. That’s because it gives you the chance to learn more about what interests your child. It also sends the message that these interests are important to you. Here are ideas for sharing screen time: