Setting Limits: Where do I start?

“How often should I let my child play video games?” This might be the most common question I am asked. As a child clinical psychologist, I became very interested in the impact of technology upon children with learning and attentional problems in the mid 1990s. My focus has always been about finding productive ways to make video game, and now app, play a positive learning experience for children. Despite its many benefits, however, children’s use of digital media can have harmful effects when it becomes excessive or obsessive. I have worked with hundreds of parents to develop strategies for effectively setting limits on screen time. This post serves as a directory of articles to help you do just that. We have divided them into three sections; posts that focus on developmental issues, posts to help parents create schedules for video game play time, and posts that offer strategies for limiting screen time.

Developmental Issues

Setting screen time limits for kids with developmental issues has been a large part of the focus here at LearningWorks for Kids, even before we began our Setting Limits series. The posts below focus on techniques for setting limits and finding appropriate technologies based upon a child’s particular developmental needs. Articles include:

Should kids with ADHD and Autism play video games?
Screen Time and the Individual Child


Articles published prior to our
Setting Limits series but still pertinent to this subject:

Autism and ASD: Finding Balance with Technology
Technology and ADHD: Strategies and Tips for Parents
Parenting Tips for ADHD and Video Games

General strategies for limiting screen time

Posts in this category provide general advice and strategies for regulating the amount of time and the type of access children have to digital media. Many of these pointers for setting limits on screen time are particularly helpful for children who have specific learning, attentional, or executive functioning needs. Articles include:

How to Limit Kids’ Video Game and Technology Use
5 Tips for Parents for Limiting Screen Time
7 Steps Toward Limiting Screen Time
Limiting Children’s Screen Time Through Curation
Use a Play Diet to Limit Screen Time

Scheduling technology time

Scheduling is the approach I find most effective overall for setting limits on screen time. Scheduling as a method of setting screen time limits provides parents with multiple approaches to regulating access to video games and other technologies. Specifics schedules are most useful for parents who want to develop some consistency in their children’s use of digital media. Articles include:

Limiting Screen Time by Scheduling
Video Games as Rewards
When a Play Diet Isn’t Working

Read more about Play Diets, the science of play, and the science behind LearningWorks for Kids.

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