Should you restrict your children’s access to video games and screen time or let them play as much as they want? How much screen time is good for kids? These are the most common questions we receive at LearningWorks for Kids. While we do not claim to have the answer for every family, we are certain that engaging in a variety of play activities, or what we call a healthy Play Diet is a key ingredient. Parents need to examine their set of sensibilities and values, their children’s needs and characteristics, and their own behavior when developing effective strategies for how much involvement their kids should have with digital media and screen-based technologies. Whether you allow a struggling student access to video games and digital media only on weekends or trust a well-performing teenager to monitor their own digital involvement, we can help you come up with an effective screen time plan for your child. The only plan with which we disagree is denying children all access to video games and digital media. We strongly believe that digital play is a part of today’s world and that a complete lack of access reduces children’s capacity to connect with their peers and is counterproductive to their future vocational and academic success.
Over the course of the past 5 years we have interviewed more than 500 hundred families about their children’s use of video games and digital media. We have learned about a variety of strategies and approaches that families use for determining how much they let their kids play video games. Through these interviews we have amassed a variety of strategies that parents use to moderate and structure the use of digital technologies with their children. Our series entitled “Screen Time: How Much is Too Much?” examines different schedules for digital media use and discusses the pros and cons of each. In addition, we attempt to help parents identify the types of children who benefit most from each of these strategies. While we expect that new technologies and apps will have an impact on these approaches, we are certain that maintaining a balanced and healthy play diet will remain a key ingredient of digital parenting in the future.