Whatever age your children are, one of the biggest challenges parents face is managing screen time and technology use in their families.
This can sometimes be a controversial topic. There’s a lot of techno-shaming and judgement about how different parents manage this issue.
As always, it can be difficult to find accurate and up-to-date information. A lot of the information out there is overly dramatic and often contradictory. And a lot of the research and academic information is simply not practical for everyday parents to try and implement.
For this reason, I wanted to find someone who understood the science and the research side of the argument, but also has real-life experience managing technology with kids. And that person is today’s guest – Dr Kristy Goodwin.
Dr Kristy Goodwin
Dr Kristy Goodwin is an expert on the subject of digital wellbeing for both adults and kids.
She worked as an educator for 14 years before becoming an academic and completing a PhD on the impact of digital technologies on children’s learning.
She’s now a researcher, consultant and speaker as well as a published author who has written a book called “Raising Your Child in a Digital World”.
So clearly Kristy is well qualified to talk on this topic. But perhaps most importantly – Kristy is a parent herself, with three young boys.
- Website: drkristygoodwin.com
- Facebook: @drkristygoodwin
- Instagram: @drkristy
- Book: Raising Your Child In A Digital World
What you’ll learn
- Kirsty’s serendipitous experience that inspired her to research screen time and kids
- Her first social media campaign that went viral – “Babies need laps not apps”
- The top three questions and concerns from parents:
- How much screen time is okay?
- How does screen time impact our children’s physical health and mental wellbeing?
- Why are my kids so infatuated with technology?
- The current Screen time guidelines in Australia:
- 0-2 years = zero screen time
- 2-5 years = no more than 1 hour a day
- 5-17 years = no more than 2 hours a day
- Kristy Goodwin’s formula for calculating healthy screen time limits for your kids.
- The 7 basic developmental needs that all humans have:
- Physical movement
- Executive function skills (self-control)
- Tips to help manage screen time with your kids
- How to negotiate screen time with your children to avoid techno tantrums
- Have clear boundaries around how much screen time
- Don’t use time as the currency, instead use quantities
- Negotiate limits before you turn the device on
- Use an external device as a timer or an alarm.
- Give kids an appealing transition activity
- Cognitive priming – warn them that their screen time is going to end soon.
- Give your child some locus of control e.g. they get to turn it off.
- Engage them in some rough and tumble after you disconnect them from their devices
- What are the risks of excessive device usage?
- Poor language skills
- Concerns about social skills
- Delayed or impaired motor skills
- Impact on sleep
- Physical health problems (e.g. myopia, hearing loss, muscular-skeletal impacts)
- Mental health problems (e.g. depression and anxiety)
- Social problems (e.g. tech-neglect or digital abandonment)
- How devices are designed to appeal to our psychological needs and be highly addictive
- How we as dads can set a better example
- Have your device out of arms reach
- Set personal parameters or policies around your own phone usage
- Disable alerts and notifications
- Set boundaries around your email usage
- Why Multitasking is a myth – the research is unequivocal
- Task switching or continuous partial attention impacts our productivity
- When we multi-task it takes about 40% longer to complete each task and error rates increase.
- We release cortisol which makes us feel stressed and hampers our memory
- We also feel tired.
- Information goes to the wrong part of the brain
- It takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to resume your focus (this is called the resumption-lag)
- Tips for increasing your personal productivity and managing work-life balance
- Figure out your chronotype
- Lark (early-bird)
- Middle bird
- When you know your productive time of day and do your deep work during this time.
- Have some strategies around your email – batch your email usage.
- Other Fun facts
- Did you know that the developing eye needs 10-15 hours of natural sunlight a week?
- Steve Jobs was reported as saying he wanted the icons on the iPhone to be so appealing you wanted to lick your screen
Quotes from Dr Kristy Goodwin
“These devices that we are all connected to and love have been intentionally designed to prey on our vulnerabilities”
“Digital amputation is not the solution”
“You have to be the pilot not the passenger of the digital plane”
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Photo credit: Scott Davison
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