Parenting Hack: How to Limit Screen Time for Your Kids

Updated by Cratejoy Editor

Any conversation about self-care, relationship-building, parenting and education eventually arrives at the same place: screen time.

How much time do we actually spend staring at our gadgets, and how does it affect us, our families, and our relationships with others? And, most importantly, how do we unplug, reset, and recenter ourselves in our children’s lives, especially in an on-the-go society that values doing over being?

Screen time by the numbers

Studies across the board show that we’re more plugged in than ever before.

According to Common Sense Media , Children up to 8 years old consume, on average, 2 hours and 19 minutes of digital media (mostly TV and videos) every day. (Source: Common Sense Media)

A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that Children between the ages of 8 and 18 consume an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes of digital media daily.

Nielsen Company found that American adults spend more than 10 hours each day consuming digital media – and that number is only growing.

How screen time affects you and your children

In a 2017 study by Common Sense Media, 70 percent of parents said they were concerned about how much screen time their children get – and with good cause. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, excessive kids’ screen time increases the risk of obesity, sleep issues, negative academic performance and cyberbullying in teens and children.

And adults aren’t any less at risk. Whether we’re online for work or play, if we don’t set careful time limits, the average American’s hours of screen use can strain our vision, affect our posture, disturb our sleep, lead to addiction behaviors and increase our risk for obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, reports health organization Rally Health. It can even lead to depression and suicide risk.

How unplugging can set you free

Fortunately, the most life-changing step is in your hands: Step away from the screen.

“The work week [is 40] hours, sleep at seven hours a night is 49, and if we assume all personal care -- such as eating, bathing, dressing, preparing food -- is three hours a day, then we have 58 hours a week left over for all other things," Iowa State psychology professor Douglas Gentile told CNN.

You may not be able to set limits on screen time at work, but you do have the power to determine the amount of time you spend online in your free time.

So buckle up and put down the iPad – here are some ways to make those 58 hours count.

Put down your smartphone and get ready: The world is waiting.