How much screen time is too much?
Who the heck knows?!
Experts are all over the board on this one and have some parents convinced that controlling screen time is the most important thing when it comes to being an awesome cyber parent. There are tons of cool gadgets and programs that allow parents to limit screen time.
If it were only as simple as limiting the amount of time your child uses their device, cyber parenting would be a snap. Unfortunately, in Toxic Apps opinion, you should worry more about screen content than actual screen time.
I believe the amount of screen time depends on current conditions. For example, if my kids have been at camp all week, without any devices, they will get to use their iPads a little more than on a normal day; or if I’m up against a deadline, they might snag a few extra hours here and there. Regardless of screen time, my focus is on content and ensuring that my boys are not venturing off into dangerous areas.
Screen time to me is like cookies. How many cookies should I eat today? That depends, are we talking Chips Ahoy or a oatmeal raisin cookies? (BTW, I can eat 10 Chips Ahoy like a pro and have trust issues because of oatmeal raisin cookies!) Other conditions may also determine how many cookies I eat such as my physical activity level for the day or what other things I plan on eating later.
As a parent I encourage you to go with your gut on daily screen time and zero in on screen content. If you have a 10 hour road trip, it’s sometimes difficult to limit screen time, believe me, I’ve tried! In our house, we try to balance a week at a time and it remains fluid. My boys and their friends usually end up reenacting video games outdoors with foam swords and sticks, which is a perfect alternative in my opinion.
The reason you should focus on content is because smut (inappropriate content for minors) can be accessed in seemingly mainstream places. Unfortunately, there are some popular social media sites that have an overwhelming amount of pornographic content and very weak controls to block this content from minors. Ten minutes of pornographic content provided by a Twitter or Tumblr feed on a daily basis can damage a child way more than 3 hours of Minecraft or Pokemon GO.
(source: Ad Week)
As parents we must limit screen time for sure, but we also must be aware of the latest trends and technologies that are potentially dangerous for our kids. In a perfect world, you would know about new technology and all the hazards BEFORE your child even knows he or she wants it! Our goal at Toxic Apps is to keep parents up to date with the latest apps, trends and technology so that they can have discussions and make decisions that best reflect their values.
My name is Barry Crutchfield and I live in Austin Texas with my wife, three boys and a dog. I am cofounder of Toxic Apps LLC, a company dedicated to keeping children safe in today’s digital world. For more information please visit http://www.toxixapps.com
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The descriptions of and warnings related to the various Apps discussed herein are based on opinions of Toxic Apps, LLC, and have been developed in a good-faith effort to educate parents of minors and to define risks for children. Others may have wholly different opinions.