Boost summer fun by limiting screen time in Georgia
To help your kids get the most out of their summer, ditch the technology in favor of activities that will focus their interest and get them moving.
How many hours of screen time a day are most kids logging outside of school?
- Most children are spending at least 3 hours a day in front of a screen.
- According to Common Sense Media, tweens indulge in over 4 hours of screen time every day.
- For teens, it’s nearly 7 hours a day.
“While screen time is unavoidable due to today’s technology and learning environments, limiting screen time is vital to ensuring that children are more physically active, do better in school, and eat healthier.” says Dr. David Jones, Chief of Pediatrics, Georgia Region.
When kids get old enough to drive, their health and safety risks increase. According to the travel organization AAA, teens get into the most auto accidents during the summertime. Pew Research and other studies have shown that texting and distracted driving have been proven to be major factors.
An ideal time for change
According to Dr. Jones, summer offers a great opportunity to reset such behaviors. Cutting screen time to 2 hours a day will help kids of all ages learn to participate in activities without distraction. It’ll also help them avoid issues such as unwanted weight gain, sleep disturbances, learning difficulties, and aggressive behavior.
Where to start
Effective strategies include:
- Making bedrooms screen-free zones
- Turning off the TV and computer during meals
- Tracking screen time
- Setting family goals for sitting less and moving more
Offer more options
You can make this change more fun for kids by offering alternatives to screen binging:
- Encourage them to play outside, and join them when you can.
- Sign them up for summer sports.
- Make a game of exercising during commercial breaks.
- Introduce them to activities like hiking and yoga.
- Set summer reading goals and seek out books you know they’ll love.
- Schedule family board game nights.
- Stimulate their creativity.
- If they’re toddlers or preschoolers, set up a “kitchen” play station with a spoon and plastic bowls.
- Older children can draw, learn dances, and build things from household items and basic craft supplies.
- Teens can enjoy a wide range of pursuits, including painting, carpentry, sculpting, and music.
Making it work
If you could use some help, smartphone apps such as ParentKit and ScreenTime make it easier to monitor and limit screen time. Let’s Move! offers a log along with useful tools and advice. For teens, there’s a host of new safe driving apps, including Canary and DriveSafe.ly.
“Your children, of course, may complain,” Jones says. “Change is always difficult. But they will be the better in the long and short term when it comes to their health and well-being.”