How to Teach Kids of Different Ages to Put Down Electronic Devices

Most modern-day parents share a similar goal — teaching their children not to be dependent on electronic devices. Most parents want their kids to engage in creative crafts, play outdoors, and practice useful skills like reading books rather than spending their days inside in front of screens.

kids playing on electronic devices

Limiting Screen Time With Electronic Devices Important

A study published in JAMA Pediatrics in 2019 claims that excessive screen use can change the way children’s brains develop. According to the study, kids with more screen time exhibited lower white matter tract structural integrity in parts of the brain that are responsible for language and literacy skills. Author of Cyber-Smarts: Raising Children in a Digital Age, postulated that electronic devices stole attention and time from growth-promoting activities.

kids looking at a tablet under the covers

Start as Early as Possible

If kids start using screens in infancy, it’s more likely that they’ll continue to use them more often as they grow. Interventions to limit screen time are more likely to work the earlier they’re introduced. Experts say there should be no screen time until the age of 18 months, one hour per day of quality programming for ages between two to five, and consistent time limits for screen use for ages six and older.

group of teenagers playing on their phones

Create a Screen-Time Policy

When kids get older, they will start asking parents for their own devices and claiming that all their friends have phones, tablets, and computers. The internet can be extremely useful for acquiring information for kids’ studies and most parents want their children to have a phone on them so that they’re always reachable. Banning electronics isn’t a good option but having an open conversation about the dangers of screen addiction and putting rules and limitations in place is the best solution.

kids enjoying the outdoors

Lead by Example

Parents can undermine their efforts by enforcing screen time rules on children but continuing to scroll through their phones and tablets at the same time. Set your devices aside and do your best to follow the same rules you want your kids to adjust to. When you do check your phone, let them know why so that they understand the more practical and useful aspects electronics offer.