How can I help my kids develop good media habits?
When it comes to media and technology, kids really learn what they live. According to a Common Sense Media poll, most parents want to cut down their mobile device use, and over one-third of teens do, too. (Learn more about the screen time habits of families with kids under 8 in Common Sense Media's most recent research.) Here are some strategies for helping your whole family develop healthy media habits.
Set limits. Establish media-free zones and weekly screen-time amounts. Aim for a balance of activities throughout the week: reading, playing, exploring, and so on.
Choose age-appropriate, high-quality media. Not everything has to be PBS, but take the time to find stuff that's nourishing.
Co-view and co-play when you can. You won't be able to stop what you're doing every time your kid plays Minecraft, but make an effort to understand -- and even appreciate -- what your kids are doing. Ask questions, get them to explain stuff, and listen with an open mind.
Treat tech as a tool, not a treat. Kids who use tablets or smartphones only to play games see only the entertainment side of technology. Demonstrate the utility of devices, such as how you send email, use a map, and look up facts.
Be a family of media critics. Media-literacy skills help kids think critically about what they watch, play, and interact with. Encourage young kids to think more deeply about their shows, books, and games. Ask "Who made this?", "Who is it for?", and "What is it telling you?"
Be a media role model. Lead by example by putting your own devices away during family time.