Screen time among kids skyrocketing; what parents need to know

Author: CBS Newspath (WPEC)
Published: Updated:
FILE: Screen time. (Credit: Pixabay)

Kids are spending more time than ever online and with summer vacation right around the corner, that means more time for social media and video games. The extra screen time makes them more vulnerable to the dangers of the digital world.

Dangers that kids aren’t always prepared for, and parents can have a hard time spotting from the outside looking in.

That’s where Jon Moffat steps in. He’s the founder of Cyber Education Consulting and works with schools and families year-round to bridge the gap between adults and kids when it comes to technology and cyber safety.

From TikTok and Instagram to multi-player video games, he says it’s crucial parents educate themselves about what’s out there and most importantly, keep the lines of communication open and honest.

“A lot of times when I talk to kids, they’ll come rush me after a presentation and say, ‘Oh, that happened to me but I didn’t tell my parents.’ Why not? ‘Well they’re going to take my phone away or they’re going to take my Xbox or they’re going to take whatever it is away so it’s best that they just don’t know,’ Moffat explained. “We as parents want to break that down. We cannot blame the technology or the child for the stuff they bring us.”

Moffat says it’s also important for parents to not just be aware of the different apps and games available but also learn how to navigate them and how they work.

Some apps like TikTok even have a family pairing option that syncs up multiple accounts so parents can easily keep an eye on their kids’ activities. That option was just added a few months ago after TikTok’s popularity exploded during the pandemic.

Moffat also suggests parents and kids sign a tech contract before downloading any app or getting any new device. It breaks down everything from how much screen time you agree to, to what your intentions and expectations are when it comes to that specific app and how it’ll be used.

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