“Now put the phone down!”
“I think you’ve played long enough now!”
Do these sentences sound familiar? You may be worried that your child is spending too much time with media and that this is harming his or her health or disrupting family times together. But how much media time is actually problematic?
Digital media are not going away. They offer us many opportunities to be creative, to learn and to stay in touch in difficult times or across city and country borders. This year, children and young people between the ages of 12 and 19 spent an average of four hours a day using media. That is almost twice as long as ten years ago. The Corona pandemic is partly responsible. Two years ago, it was just over three hours a day.
Children also take their cue from their parents. Today, we can hardly imagine everyday life without media: We use the laptop for online shopping, the ticket app for the bus ride, the TV at the end of the day.
Smartphone, TV & Co are everyday for children and exert a strong attraction. It becomes difficult for parents when their children cannot find an ending. The brain of adolescents is still developing. That’s why it’s harder for them to stop, even when they’ve actually had enough. Using a medium intensively at times during a particular phase of life, such as puberty, can be unproblematic. Sometimes it can even help to get through this phase But excessive use can lead to stress or sleep disorders. In rarer cases, neglect of friends and school and loss of control may occur. If you observe such excessive behavior over an extended period of time, it is important to talk to your child and possibly seek counseling. To protect your children from this, it is therefore important to guide them in their use of media.
There is no clear answer to the question of how much media time is good for your child. Various guidebooks provide recommendations on media times. However, these are rough guide values. Much more important than the duration of use, in addition to the age and stage of development of your child, is the accompaniment of parents: