Managing Screen Time

Screens are a wonderful tool to use with children, however they are becoming increasingly difficult to monitor and manage. 

Here are a few great examples of questions you could ask yourself to see if the child’s screen time is under control?

  • Do you have a plan to ‘manage‘ screen time? Is it being followed?
  • Does screen use interfere with what your family/classroom wants to do?
  • Does screen use interfere with sleep?
  • Does the child easily transition between screen time and non-screen time? i.e. will they get ‘off’ when directed

If after asking these questions you are wanting to put in place some strategies to manage screen time, below are some tips to get you started.

TIPS TO MANAGE SCREEN TIME


EXIT PLAN 

Many kids with ASD get very engrossed with their screens making it very difficult for them to transition to nothing afterwards. Planning their next activity before starting screen time allows them to immediately move onto another activity. 

A COLLABORATIVE MEDIA PLAN 

Create a plan with the child which works for the adult and the child. Have agreed rules, routines, expectations (i.e. around swearing etc.) and consequences. I highly recommend writing down the agreement and putting it somewhere to refer back to.

SCREEN FREE TIMES

Instilling allocated screen free times or activities such as meal-times or outings which everybody participates in. 

(If the device is being used for communication the child needs access to it at all times, and this cannot be done.) 

TURN OFF WIFI 

Many routers can now turn off the wifi after a certain time e.g. bedtime

LIMITING THE AMOUNT OF TIME 

This could be done in a number of different ways

  • A self-monitored visual timer
  • Many apps can now be time limited
  • Token systems

Be aware that with some children it is incredibly distressing to stop mid-game, so perhaps, adjust limits accordingly. Instead of a certain time period, allow them to play the game a set number of times. 

EXCHANGE SYSTEMS

Allow screen time in exchange for other activities

  • Following tidying up/school work etc. 
  • Amount of time allowed on screens is half the amount of time spent off the screens. 

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