Do you struggle to limit your kids’ screen time? Well, as it turns out, you yourself might be a significant part of the problem. A recent study suggests that certain behaviors and parenting practices serve to reinforce device addiction in children, and that children were right all along — parents are indeed hypocrites. Here are the key findings.
Monkey see monkey do
The study found a positive relationship between the time parents spent using a screen and screen habits of their children. Children have been shown to match every hour of their parents’ screen time with up to 35 minutes of their own screen time. These findings prove that controlling children’s screen habits goes hand in hand with controlling your own screen habits.
Monkey don’t see monkey don’t do
To reinforce previous point, the study found that children younger than 3 were not as affected by their parents’ screen time, since most of it happened when children napped, hence no exposure. Children were also less affected by screen habits of their fathers, as fathers tend to spend less time with their families.
Family rules matter
Allowing devices during meals and granting screen time as a reward leads to a higher use of screens at other times as well. Without diving too deep into various parenting approaches, a simple takeaway is that the more screen time is allowed, the more screen time children will want.
From the findings, it’s obvious that leading by example is the major element of managing your children’s screen habits. First thing to do is limit your own screen time or, at the very least, use screens where your children can’t see you. Another thing to do is enforce screen free hours of the day, like mealtime and a few hours before bed. Using screens as a reward is also not a good idea, since it makes them even more desirable. Overall, it looks like asking your children to follow a rule you yourself don’t follow is bound to fail.
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