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Limits should be set for media and technology use. It's a good idea to think about how you will set limits and monitor usage.


It is important to set time limits on technology use; most experts recommend no more than one to two hours per day. Children who watch more than the recommended two hours per day are more likely to have a higher percentage of body fat than those who watch less.

It is also very important to keep an eye on your child while he is watching television. If he is watching a program, sit down with him so you know what he is watching. If you are concerned about the characters or content of the show, talk to him about your concerns. Ask him what he thinks of the characters and topics. If he might see commercials while watching television, make sure you tell him that commercials are trying to sell things to him. When you are watching television with him, point out the advertisements and talk about what you see and hear. Let your child know that commercials often say things that sound true but are not factual at all.

It can be difficult to always be present while your child watches a program, especially when the dog has gotten into the garbage, supper is boiling over and your toddler is crying. Because many parents are busy, it can be tempting to plunk your child down in front of the television so you can focus on a different task for even a few minutes. If you need to do this, make sure the program she is watching is one that you are comfortable with her watching without your presence.

Older early years children can set their own television or movie schedule within the time limits or rules you have set. Make sure you still continue to speak to your child about what she is watching and praise her for making good choices.

Pay attention to your child when you are watching (or even listening to) news broadcasts. If your child is also paying attention to the information it is a good idea to discuss what is being said. There are many things discussed on the news that can be very frightening or confusing for children. Children in this age group are not able to fully understand many of the topics discussed on the news.

If your child hears about potential flooding in your area, for example, he may feel very nervous and scared. Talk to your child about your plan if there is a flood. Tell your child that he doesn?t need to worry because if there is a flood, you will take care of him and you have a plan in place. If your child is interested, you can discuss in more detail what you would do if this happened.

Contact your television service provider for more details on using parental controls that can restrict access to certain channels.

Tips on Managing Media Use in Your Home

Computers & Internet Use

Odds are your nine-year-old is as good with a computer as you are. There are many educational websites on the Internet that provide movies, music, learning activities, or games that your child can use.

But it is important to speak to your child about safe Internet use. Always monitor your child?s use of the computer when he is online ? have the computer set up in a common, open room; if not possible, ensure the door to the computer room is open and the screen faces out; make sure your child knows you are always checking on him. Decide what will count as computer use: talking to a family member through Skype may or may not be included in your child?s total usage time. Stick to your limits and rules.

Parental controls on computers are great tools to ensure your child can't access inappropriate websites or content. Some Internet browsers allow parents to have password-protected settings to block specific websites. Some search engines also automatically block certain types of content or websites from their search list.

If you are unsure how to keep your child safe online, follow the link to learn more about protecting your child.

At home, the video games being played should be appropriate for everyone. You should speak to your older children about the types of games they play in front of their younger brother so they are aware of the reasons why you have created this rule.

Like all other types of technology, have rules and limits to video game use. It can be helpful to set a timer once your child begins playing so she knows to turn the game off when her time is up. (This is also good for parents because we can be so busy, we lose track of playing time.) Pay attention to the games your child is playing. Be familiar with the content of the game and if you aren?t familiar with it, ask your child questions. 

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