Healthy Screen Time and Gaming

IGS recently hosted YSafe Executive Director Yasmin London who advised parents on how to handle gaming and screen time for their children.

The IGS Community Learning Program event followed on from Yasmin’s talk last year on social media and cybersafety.

Primary Digital Innovator/Cybersafety Coordinator David Smith welcomed Yasmin, who presented an insightful look into the positives and negatives of Gaming.

Key points:

  • Gaming can have a positive effect on how children work with others in a team, and promote decision making, problem-solving skills, achievement, and increased self-esteem.
  • However, “pushes” can attract students to a game and make them feel better about themselves online than they do in their offline world.
  • “Pulls” can be mechanisms that draw children into games and persuade them to keep playing indefinitely.
  • Ratings should be checked on any games children are playing. Common Sense Media is an excellent site for cross-checking the rating of games, movies, and apps.
  • Be aware that most games, such as Minecraft and Fortnite, provide an online chat option.
  • To block the online chat function, ensure all settings for any of your children’s games are set to Private.

Secondly, Yasmin discussed the importance of healthy screen time.

Key points:

  • Regulate, regulate and regulate your child’s screen time. 
  • Parents need to be proactive about their screen time at home by developing a schedule. This will make both parents and children conscious of how much time is spent on a screen.
  • Screen time can be both positive (fostering learning and creativity) and negative (effecting physical health and social skills) depending on what is being accessed and for how long.
  • Recreational screen time of an hour a day can be beneficial in providing some “downtime” for children. More than an hour can be detrimental.
  • It’s important to have no screens for at least one hour before bedtime providing a “digital sunset” which promotes sleep.
  • Never have devices alone with children in bedrooms.
  • Various paid online tools, such as “Family Zone” and “Net Nanny”, can assist in controlling screen time and regulating gaming. 

Please email Mr Smith at davidsm@igssyd.nsw.edu.au if you would like further information.

Yasmin has offered all parents access to exclusive information provided by YSafe.

IGS thanks Yasmin for such an insightful look into our student’s digital future and how we as parents can best manage it. The school looks forward to working YSafe and Yasmin again in 2020, assisting students and parents.