Finding Balance with Media and Tech Use at Home

young boy playing a game on a tablet
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

As the school year wraps up for many students, parents begin thinking about how children will spend their time. While summertime brings sports, sunshine and outdoor fun, it can also come with an abundance of screen time. So how can we, as parents, reflect on the activities our children engage in every week and how much media and technology they consume?

Thankfully, Common Sense Media, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families navigate the world of media and technology with their kids, has developed some tips for parents when it comes to finding an appropriate balance! What exactly is media? It is forms of communication (such as books, radio, television, the internet, movies, TV shows, music, iPads, smartphones, laptops, and websites) that use technology to access. While these are typically appealing to children (and adults!), it is important to find a balance of how much time is devoted to using technology and consuming media.

By focusing on how we’re using devices and screens to enhance activities, we can feel good about the use of technology, knowing that it is supporting a healthy balance for our children.

Common Sense Media has a great activity to start thinking about your family’s use of media and technology that can be found HERE. The activity involves thinking about the various activities you would like your child to engage in every week such as outdoor play, playing with others, online learning, chores, video games, etc. Then, reflecting on which activities can use media and tech to support or enhance the experience and which activities you would prefer your child to do without tech or screens. The idea is that not all screens are created equal. By focusing on how we’re using devices and screens to enhance activities, we can feel good about the use of technology, knowing that it is supporting a healthy balance for our children.

Just as it is important to have balanced meals of food, we can think about having healthy, balanced meals of technology and media as well. If your family has balanced portions of different activities throughout the week, you don’t need to worry about counting minutes. You’ll know your child is getting what they need. Every family can find their own delicious recipe by following these helpful tips:

Healthy MEALS of media chart

Learn more about how to use media to support your child’s healthy development at commonsense.org/families!