Computers are fun and educational. However, children need to find a balance between screen time and other activities and need to be safe from online dangers.
Experts recommend1 hour maximum screen time per day (TV, DVD, computer) for children 2-5 years or 2 hours for those over 5.
Children need time interacting with people to develop social and language skills as well as physical activity and creative play.
Practical advice for parents
- Set clear family guidelines for screen time
- Keep the computer in a shared or visible place
- Discuss sites that are OK to explore and those that are not
- Social networking sites such as Facebook should not be used by children under 13
- Teach kids to be critical about internet content. Not everything online can be trusted
- Ensure kids are respectful and do not bully
- Install filters or parental control software
- Help them choose strong passwords and know to never share them with friends
- Teach children about the risks of publishing personal details online (such as name, age, birthday, email or postal address)
- Teach them about privacy and security settings on social media sites and how to block unwanted contacts
- New friends made online might not be who they say they are. Children should never meet them in the real world without you
- Monitor online activity. Check ‘bookmarks’, ‘favourites’ or ‘internet history’ in the browser
- Talk to your child about cyberbullying. Be aware of changes in mood or behaviour which may indicate a child is being bullied
- Please note this information was correct at time of publication.
- For up to date information, speak to your doctor.