The small 1×1 of media use in children
Who doesn’t know it – the daily discussion about the length of our children’s screen time . We grown-ups know the importance of time limitation and how beautiful memories can be. As adults, we often keep an eye on the big picture and attach great importance to a conscious approach to entertainment. The tots, on the other hand, try by all means every day to “only” discuss, to torment, to fight for an episode. Established and balanced media time “contracts” with one’s own children are exposed to a new storm every day. Or during the many times spent together in our own four walls over the last two years, we parents were forced to voluntarily abandon them waving white flags. And: Hand on heart! We parents have also extended our media time not only by working from home, but also to create a “quick conversation” with as little effort as possible. But now, with each passing day, our former life, almost the long-awaited normality, returns. The world is once again turning on its own axis, and so the need to establish clear rules for televisions, tablets, PCs and smartphones has quietly returned to our sofas.
Even if it is sometimes difficult not to give in to the supplications, we should find an agreement together with our children. And in doing so, we also question our own media usage behavior . Demanding of children what we as adults do not exemplify is a hopeless endeavor that is perceived by children as unfair and arbitrary. If, for example, it is said in the family rules that there are no mobile phones and the like when eating, then this of course applies to every family member. Not just for the little ones.
Children’s daily media use from a scientific point of view
But back to the question of daily media usage time. Science advises the following: a daily screen time of no more than 15 minutes is suggested only after starting school. After primary school, the Ulm brain researcher Prof. Dr. Manfred Spitzer recommends that from the point of view of brain research, an extension of television time to half an hour a day could be considered. Boom. A statement that makes us parents all suddenly become very small on our sofa. Don’t worry, that’s – let’s put it this way – the theory. In practice, this is actually not so easy to put into practice. Nevertheless, we should have consciously perceived this basic optimal value .
The small 1×1 of media use for families
To orient themselves according to age, the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) recommends that families use digital media prudently. Parents should keep an eye on their children’s media consumption, but also their own. The following times are recommended:
- Children aged 0 to 3 years: do not use screen media
- Children aged 3 to 6 years: maximum 30 minutes per day
- Children aged 6 to 10 years: maximum 45 to 60 minutes per day
Media use and its consequences for the little ones
In research results, a significant increase in screen time is correlated with possible later developmental disorders, poor posture and obesity. Children who spend many hours a day in front of the devices not only have a physical deficit, but also social contact with friends is practically impossible. The consequences: exclusion from the circle of friends at school, obesity and long-term health effects. The child’s brain structures are also in a constant state of networking during development. To do this, however, they must be challenged and encouraged. In front of a screen, however, this is not achieved. The time to experience and experience the world is shrinking in favor of increased media consumption. So, all in all, a pretty unhealthy habit. Did you also know that short-sightedness is also promoted by constant preoccupation in the area of near vision? The eye is not trained for far-sightedness into the distance and gradually the shape of the eye adapts to the one-sided use. This also affects children and young people to an increasing extent.
What is the best way to deal with the topic?
The television consumption within your family is certainly as individual as each family itself. Therefore, in our opinion, there is no single hard and fast rule, but only guidance on the time limit. The Federal Centre for Health Education has also summarised some of these important rules very well and put them in a nutshell:
- Agree with your child on binding times for the use of digital media.
- Be interested in your children’s digital activities – let them tell you about them, take part in them or play along if necessary.
- Be authentic and stick to agreed times yourself.
- Plan activities together: These can be board games, sports activities, excursions or walks. Whatever the family enjoys together, digital media should be taboo for everyone in these activities.
- Digital media should also take a break when eating together and during a conversation. Give your child(ren) your undivided attention. This is a precious gift.
From parent to parent
And our personal addition: Sometimes you can “let 5 be straight” and let a child who is bored at home, e.g. with a cold, watch two more cartoons or chat with friends with a clear conscience. Exceptions should not become the general rule. And even small clever barters should be considered from time to time: 30 minutes more TV time – ok, but only today and in return 30 minutes of reading are practiced without grumbling. And we bet that once an exciting story has been found together, no one will mourn the TV anymore, but will be enthusiastically immersed in the fantastic world of books together with mum or dad.
And oh yes: Here in the family paradise there are countless opportunities to escape everyday life together with the children and spend a lot of offline time together in nature . We create unforgettable memories for the whole family. Days that young and old alike will remember again and again.
With this in mind, we are looking forward to hopefully seeing you again soon or getting to know each other for the first time with a lot of foresight in the middle of our magnificent mountain world.
Your family Hlebaina – from the children’s hotel at Lake Achensee