Kelly Amshey, Assistant Principal
East Rockford Middle School
Adults recognize that children are growing up in an era of technology. Access to media such as television, movies, Internet, social networking, texting, and video games is greater now than ever. While these technologies provide children with distraction and entertainment, overuse can be detrimental to their academic and social success.
Overuse of media can contribute to poor homework completion, lack of sleep, and decrease in positive learning activities such as reading and creative play. Research consistently supports limits on media exposure at home, including the following:
Limit total daily use to two hours at a maximum. This should include watching television or video, using the Internet (unless required for homework), playing video games, using social networking sites, and texting.
Meals should be eaten as a family, when possible, without television or other use of electronics.
Model reasonable use of media. Parents will not be affected by media use in the same way as their students. However, children’s media use will be reflective of how much time their parents spend using these technologies.
Keep computers and televisions in common areas of the home. Also, require that cell phones, iPods, and similar mobile devices be turned into parents at bed time. This ensures that children’s use will be monitored and that they are not overusing without parent knowledge.
Encourage play for younger kids. Encourage older children to become involved in structured activities, either through school or other organizations. By keeping kids busy, they will be less dependent on technology for entertainment.
Change will not come quickly or easily. Depending on your family, it may be best to make these changes slowly or all at once. No matter how your family tackles the issue, please recognize the importance of limiting use, thereby keeping your kids safe, healthy, and successful.