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12 tips for reducing your kids' screen time

Screen time is just a fact of life these days. But most of us have days when we’ve struggled to unglue them from their screens. Here are some tips for getting them off their screens and into the real world. 

Tips to limit their time online

How much screen time is too much?

You’re the expert on your child – you’ll probably already know how much screen time is too much for them. A recent study into screen time and children’s health concluded that it’s really up to parents to decide on their children’s use of devices like mobiles and tablets, taking their age and maturity into account, and that screens should be avoided in the hour before bedtime. You can read more about the study on the Children 1st website.

Keep an eye on them when they're online

1. Talk to them about what they watch

Talk to your child about using screens and what they watch. A change in their behaviour (e.g. being grumpy) can mean they’re distressed. Make sure they know they can speak to you or another adult if they’re worried about something they see on screen or social media. Our page on talking to your child about online safety has more information.

2. Set parental controls

Many internet plans and apps will have parental controls so they won’t be exposed to inappropriate content from their device. Our page on protecting your child online has more information.

3. Don’t over share

Talk to them about sharing photos and information online, and how these can be changed or mis-used by other people. Before you upload any pictures of your child, ask for their permission. If in doubt, don’t upload! Our page on setting boundaries has more information.

4. Find out your school’s screen time policy

If your child is at school, find out if there is a screen time policy. That could help you limit their time online.

You can do it!

We hope that these tips for sneaking in ways to get them doing other things – like getting fresh air, helping you around the house and playing with you will get them off their screens. Good luck everyone – we’ve got your back!

From the parents

"My top tip would be that your kids don’t always have to be constantly entertained! They will find something to do that lets them use their imagination and creativity." – Kirsty

"I find screens make behaviour way worse than it should be! Having a variety of games you can play together can help." - Sarah

Online safety

As parents, we do everything we can to keep our children safe. We hold their hand crossing the road. We teach them not to talk to strangers. We do our best every day. But when it comes to online safety, it can be hard to know where to start. The good news is, the steps you can take to keep your child safe online are the same as the ones you use to protect them offline.

Our section on online safety guides you through the steps you can take to help keep your child safe online, as well as looking at what you can do if your child has a negative experience.