How do we define a friend? Friends the children follow on social networks versus friends in real life. An opportunity to talk about values in societies.

Cognitive Impairment – We are passive in front of the screen. The information is sent to us according to parameters that we have not determined. Children have difficulty finding reliable information from the abundance of existing information. The screen causes a lack of creative thought.

Less sleep, and sleep quality is impaired by lack of melatonin. The screen lighting consumes the melatonin responsible for sleep. Therefore, it is recommended to stop using the screens long enough before bedtime.

When you are staring at the screen you don’t notice what you eat, if at all. This may cause eating disorder/ obesity problems…

Physical / motor injury – Children and adults have a need in movement. Prolonged sitting, often, causes them to be ‘springs’ when they separate from the screen.

Due to a lack of social skills training (we used to practice in the neighborhood), the relationship between the brothers is also often affected.

The child at home… is he safe? We think so, but that is not the case.

Future meanings… A child without this skill will have difficulties in his future place of work.

Immediate attention Versus continuous attention is another impact to consider.

Managing Screen Time

Parents today are less proficient in screens. The role of parents – to be familiar with the various applications, to educate filtering of bad content, to teach safe browsing (and dangers on the network). In order to be involved, you simply have to be there!

Alternatively, use parental control programs. They’re life-saving, literally. A few controls to block unwanted sites and limit screen time and you can go ahead with your daily work life like your kids are not exposed to the Internet.

As explained in this Norton Family Premier review, parental control programs give you authority to manage several devices in one platform. You receive notifications when your kids attempt to visit blocked content and get a daily list of activities done at different time frames.

Most important is to focus on two goals:

  • Developing children’s critical thinking about the sites in which they browse;
  • Mutual responsibility is the “glue” of the society, we should educate the kids to prevent any type of abuse; Parents should also know the implications of the Network Abuse Prevention Act.

Recommended screen time by age

Age Recommended Screen Exposure
0-4 years None
4-6 years Up to 30 minutes per day
Elementary School Up to 1 hour per day
High School (all types of screens) Up to 2 hours per day

True, this sounds very far from reality and seems impossible but on normal days, when they are at school, it’s reasonable. It’s harder to control this on vacations.

What needs to be done?

We have to dedicate more time with them. It is difficult to build a relationship which is based on shared pleasure, developing social skills and education / boundaries when necessary in 13 minutes per day.

Plan your time together during the week in light of other tasks – classes, homework assignments, parents’ work hours, friends time, help at home, and it is ok if they get bored – (by the way, they don’t get bored) suddenly they are going out and learn to appreciate it – the walk to the garden / riding a bike / on a scooter, walking with the dog.

It is crucial to allocate daily family time – shared meal and conversation without screens, help at home, play games. Children love to play. That’s their language. That’s how you can overcome all sorts of difficulties.

There is no authority without presence, we cannot be trusted if we are not present!
This article was written by Sharon Zuntz, Child psychologist and partner at the Gross Zunz Institute. She is an expert recognized by the Israeli Ministry of Education for the diagnosis of learning disabilities. She is also a member of several committees for adjustment and guidance on the subject of sexuality of children and youth, eating disorders and LGBT identity.