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Screen Time

Screens are a fixture in children's lives from a young age. You may be worried about giving your child access to television, tablets or phones.

Too much time in front of screens can affect children and young people in a number of ways:

  • Missing out on opportunities to learn from real life experiences and opportunities
  • Reduced concentration due to distraction from screens 
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Increased risk of obesity. 

Babies and very young children do not need much screen time. It can limit their speech development and social skills.

Dive Deeper

Reducing Screen Time

  • Be a good role model and reduce your own time in front of a screen including phones, tablets, laptops, PCs and television.
  • Limit screen time in the day to short periods of 30 minutes or less.
  • Encourage them to participate in other activities. Spend time playing outside, sharing books, having conversations and doing craft activities or sports.

 

Things You Can do Instead

Spend time talking to or playing with your child away from screens. Plan fun activities - visit outdoor activities and indoor activities for some ideas!

Limit screen time to one hour a day for older children and teenagers. Babies and very young children do not need screen time.

Talk to your children about what they are doing on their phones and computers. Make sure you are confident about keeping your child safe online

Spend time online together to help your child get the most out of educational content.

Remember to turn off all screens at least an hour before bedtime. This helps get into a good sleep routine. 

 

Mobile Phones 

When is the right time for a child to have a mobile phone? 

There is no law in place to suggest what age a child is allowed to have a mobile phone. It is your choice as a parent or carer. Be aware that the risks increase when children are able to access the internet on their smartphone.

Some very young children have a mobile phone, but most parents wait until their child is about to start secondary school.

You might want to consider:

  • Does my child need a phone or do they just want one?
  • Setting up password access to the app store so that you have to approve any apps they download or content that they pay for.
  • Purchasing a basic feature phone. These tend to be cheaper and are less likely to be targeted by thieves.
  • Downloading a location tracking app if your child has a smartphone. This can help if you want to check where your child is.
  • Setting ground rules with your child about using their phone and checking in with them regularly.
  • Make sure you are confident about keeping your child safe online

Who can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum.

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