Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: June is Internet Safety Month – Summer is More Screen Time

I don’t think we can stop talking about this topic enough today.  Summer time, although years ago – prior the technology of computers and cellphones with Internet service, used to mean playing outside, building forts in the woods (which we never hear anymore – now we have fear of abductions), or going to the beach or pool without a gadget.  I have written a lot on Internet Safety, including my book, Google Bomb.  Connect with Kids just posted a new article on kids and their screen time.  Take the time to remind yourself of Internet Safety for you and your kids!  After all – today summer time means more online time.

Source: Connect with Kids

Screen Time

“Instead of using that time to become an adult, by learning how to talk adults, learning how to talk to women, learning how to talk to men, learning how to figure out what they want to do with their lives. Those are hours that are lost, that can never really be regained.”

– Timothy Fong, M.D., addiction psychiatrist

The American Academy of Pediatrics named the month of June “Internet Safety Month” – clearly a challenge for parents throughout the year. A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that kids spend up to seven and a half hours each day with electronic media.

If you add the time some kids spend in front of a TV, computers, cell phones and video games, it’s more hours than anything else in their lives except sleep! And that begs the question if they spend so much time plugged in, what are they missing out on?

Sabrina and her brother Ruben are fighting over the family computer. At the same time, their younger brother Daniel is playing video games with a friend.

“It’s just fun killing other people and stealing their stuff,” says Daniel, 8.

And sister Alinna waits to watch her favorite program on the big TV.

“I dream about watching TV, and I watch Sponge Bob in my head,” says Alinna.

Four kids in one family who love anything with a screen.

“It’s just nowadays it seemed like they’re a lot lazier, and just want to sit on the tube and on the phone all the time,” says their father, Harry.

For all those hours spent online or watching TV, what are they not doing? Experts say they’re not reading, studying, exercising or even just talking with other people.

“Instead of using that time to become an adult, by learning how to talk adults, learning how to talk to women, learning how to talk to men, learning how to figure out what they want to do with their lives. Those are hours that are lost, that can never really be regained,” says Timothy Fong, M.D., addiction psychiatrist.

Yolanda has tried to limit her kids’ time in front of a screen.

“Well my mom gives me an hour, but I usually do like 3 hours. If they don’t notice,” says Sabrina, 16.

“Even though I get frustrated with it, I allow it to happen because that’s what makes her happy,” says Yolanda Delano, mother.

What Parents Need To Know

A new study reported in Pediatrics Magazine says that children whose parents set consistent rules about television use were less likely to exceed the recommended screen time limits – no more than one to two hours a day.

Chances are, if your children are like most, they spend too much time glued to the screen watching television, surfing the Internet and playing video games. So, how can you break this habit without wrecking havoc in the home? The answer, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, is to find fun, positive activities that children enjoy and to smartly manage their screen time.

Following are 10 tips for parents to help their children make a painless transition from couch potato to a physically and pro-socially active child:

  1. Remove television sets from children’s bedrooms.
  2. View television programs with children and discuss the content.
  3. Use the VCR to show or record high-quality, educational programming for children.
  4. Suggest several options for positive physical and pro-social activities that are available through local park districts, schools, and community programs.
  5. Recommend pro-social activities, such as volunteering at Humane Society of the United States (visit
  6. Encourage alternative activities for children, including hobbies, athletics, and creative play.
  7. Support efforts to establish comprehensive programs in schools that include quality, daily physical education; classroom education; daily recess periods; and extracurricular physical activity programs.
  8. Form coalitions including libraries, faith-based organizations, and neighborhood groups to help provide physical and social environments that encourage and enable safe and enjoyable physical activity, including new sidewalks, safe parks and keeping close-to-home physical activity facilities open at night.
  9. Ensure that appropriate activity options are available for disabled children.
  10. Serve as a good role model; be active when viewing television and surfing the Internet in the home.