Manage Screen Time During the Holidays
It's been difficult to manage screen time this year, since we've spent so much of our time at home due to the pandemic. We naturally turn to our devices to remedy boredom or loneliness. However, we also know that too much screen time can be addictive and quite harmful to our mental health. It's important to find a balance, but it's by no means easy. Winter time and the holiday season make it even more difficult, because we are indoors more and typically have more time on our hands to devote to endless scrolling.
Here are some of our tips for individuals and families with kids to help manage screen time this season:
If you have an Apple device, one helpful trick is using "downtime." When you go to your settings, then to screen time, you will see downtime there too. You can set downtime for certain periods of the day to ensure that you won't be on your phone, with it freezing your apps. For example, if you want to make sure you're not up "doomscrolling" late at night, you could set your downtime from 9pm to 7am the next day.
Create Device Free Zones
One way to ensure that you are on your devices less is to create device free zones
for yourself in your home. You could set a rule for yourself to not have your phone at the dinner table or in the bedroom. This way, you won't be on your phone when you are meant to be doing other things, like eating or sleeping.
Turn Off Notifications
This tip can make a huge difference in reducing our screen time. Turning notifications off of all our non-essential apps will ensure that we aren't checking social media or our emails constantly because our phones won't be lighting up or buzzing with each new update.
If you are constantly switching between devices, like your phone to your computer, or if you're multitasking between your screen and doing other daily tasks, you'll probably end up using tech for much longer. Try to devote your attention to only one task and device at a time. Eliminating multitasking will also ensure that you are devoting your full attention to the things that matter.
Check In With Yourself
Take stock of your screen time usage by checking in on yourself periodically. Step away for a moment to assess how certain apps make you feel or how it feels to be on your device for a long period of time. If certain platforms or habits are not bringing you joy, consider how you can go without certain apps or re-adjust your actions to feel more fulfilled with your time.
For Your Kids
Make a Family Agreement
Have an open conversation as a family about expectations for tech usage. Come to an agreement
with your children about what must be done before they can earn screen time. Aside from agreeing upon how you will manage screen time, consider also discussing what platforms you are comfortable with your kid being on and deciding what they should or should not share online.
Set a Timer
This is a great way for every family member to hold themselves accountable with their screen time usage. For kids, it may be especially useful to set timers for screen time (based on a previously agreed upon amount of time) to have them be aware of what 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 1 hour of screen time is like and know that there is a cut off.
Encourage New Hobbies
There are many other ways that you could be spending the holidays as a family aside from being on your devices. Brainstorm some creative, alternative activities
for your kids and you to do. Once kids find a new hobby that they really enjoy, it becomes easier for them to care less about being on their devices.
Lead By Example
If we have set expectations for our kids for their screen time, it's only fair that we hold ourselves accountable for it too. Parents, lead by example and model healthy screen time behavior for your kids, so that they can see what a healthy balance looks like.
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