4 Important Rules for Your Child's Screen Time

Want to start intro­duc­ing your child to tech­nol­o­gy but unsure where to begin? These four rules will help you set bound­aries for your child’s screen time use. They take into account pro­fes­sion­al rec­om­men­da­tions as well as lessons learned from par­ents like you!

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Rule 1: Technology Time Limits

Exam­ple: Mary is only allowed two hours of screen time a day.”

You may choose to fol­low the guide­lines set by the Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Pedi­atrics to adapt those to your family’s lifestyle. The AAP rec­om­mends only one hour a day for chil­dren between 2 – 5 years. That num­ber isn’t set in stone, how­ev­er, as more recent research sug­gests that the exact num­ber of screen time hours real­ly isn’t that impor­tant for a child’s health and devel­op­ment. Ulti­mate­ly, the num­ber of hours is up to you and your family’s unique circumstances. 

Rule 2: No-Screen Areas

Exam­ple: Fred­dy is not allowed to use a device in his bed­room or at the din­ing room table.”

Make cer­tain areas of your home off-lim­its for screen time to give your child more oppor­tu­ni­ties for healthy social inter­ac­tions with you and oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers. The din­ner table, for exam­ple, is a great place to encour­age con­ver­sa­tion rather than heads-down screen time. You’ll also want to con­sid­er keep­ing devices out of the bed­room so you can super­vise screen time activ­i­ties and make sure the device doesn’t get in the way of your child’s sleep.

Rule 3: Kid-Friendly Apps

Exam­ple: Clemen­tine can only use Jel­lies dur­ing her screen time.”

You may want to lim­it your child to one or two safe kids apps like Jel­lies. This helps make sure your child is inter­act­ing with qual­i­ty, edu­ca­tion­al con­tent. Jel­lies is a great option as it gives par­ents con­trol over what their chil­dren are watch­ing. There are no ads, unbox­ing videos, child celebri­ties, or inap­pro­pri­ate behav­ior in the Jel­lies app (and our trained review­ers watch every sin­gle sec­ond to make sure). What’s more, Jel­lies videos fol­low school cur­ricu­lums and devel­op­men­tal bench­marks so you know you’re mak­ing the most of your child’s screen time. 

Check out our video tuto­ri­als to learn how to 1) pre­vent your child from leav­ing a safe iPhone app and 2) set parental con­trols on your iPhone or iPad.

Rule 4: Good Behavior, Only

Exam­ple: Tim­o­thy for­feits his screen time if he throws a tem­per tantrum in the gro­cery store.”

Some par­ents use screen time as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to rein­force good behav­ior. If you notice your child act­ing out, con­sid­er cut­ting back or elim­i­nat­ing their screen time entire­ly. Some­times unhealthy screen time habits can exac­er­bate prob­lem behav­iors. Pay close atten­tion to your child’s screen habits if you notice them com­plain­ing when you tell them to turn off the device or lying about how long they’ve spent on it. You may need to cre­ate stricter rules or take a time-out from screen time for a while. 

Check out the Jel­lies blog for more par­ent­ing advice like 10 Signs It’s Time to Change Your Child’s Screen Time and Habits. You’ll find quick tips, lists, deep dives, video tuto­ri­als, and more on impor­tant top­ics about chil­dren and tech­nol­o­gy. While you’re at it, learn why par­ents choose Jel­lies over oth­er kids video apps, and join the con­ver­sa­tion on Twit­ter, Face­book, and Insta­gram.