NortonLifeLock has found over the past year that children’s screen time has sky-rocketed due to the pandemic. Cyber Security Expert, Sam Edwards highlights that although digital devices are key to ensuring learning continues despite lockdowns and disruptions, they also pose challenges.

Many parents have been worried about not being able to supervise their children and help with schoolwork due to their own work commitments. Leaving children to their own devices is far from ideal and being online may open a Pandora’s box of uncontrolled exposure to the internet jungle.

Tips for parents and teachers to help them support kids’ digital learning and digital lives.

Key indicators of excessive screen time

Some key behaviours that indicate a child is spending too much time online, or even starting to develop a screen addiction:

  • They become agitated or anxious when they cannot get online
  • They are aggressive or agitated when they come offline
  • Their sleep is being adversely impacted by their online use
  • Their schoolwork is suffering
  • They cannot stop using their device, even when it’s inappropriate such as when talking to people, or at the dinner table
  • They start to neglect things they have previously loved, such as reading, craft, or sport

Better ways to manage schoolchildren’s screen time

  • Weekly screen time report
  • Turn off push notifications to avoid children’s need to pick-up their device
  • Invite parents to teach children to not feel obliged to respond straight away to every message or alert
  • Encourage parents to model healthy screen use by reviewing their own media habits and plan time for alternative play and activities

Stop screen time addiction issues before they happen

  • Develop plans for digital literacy and screen use at school – teachers and parents can model these in the classroom at home
  • Other good practices include:
    • Co-viewing and talking about content with children
    • Discouraging the use of multiple devices at once
    • Managing children’s log-in information and passwords
    • Discussing appropriate online behaviours

Technology can help manage the screen addiction issue

  • NortonLifeLock’s School Time, a parental control tool, lets parents greenlight the sites their kids need to attend classes and do schoolwork without allowing access to the rest of the web
  • Parents and teachers play a strong role in guiding the media use of their children – ensuring they are supported in fostering healthy screen habits, where online learning isn’t interrupted by prolonged distractions, helps develop healthy behaviours now and in the future

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