Screen time: Balancing online activities for children over the summer

With summer in full swing, children often have more free time. As they explore the season’s wonders, we can encourage them to balance their online and offline activities, making the most of their time. While digital devices can be fascinating, we can encourage them to engage in creative activities that foster learning and interactions with others. Striving for balance will empower our children to enjoy the best of both worlds, promoting their physical and mental well-being, while making fond memories over the summer break. 

Date 2023-08-14 Author BIK Team Section awareness, youth Topic advertising/commercialism, excessive use, media literacy/education Audience parents and carers
Dad and children playing kite outdoor

Being mindful of screen time and encouraging diverse activities can positively impact physical health and emotional well-being. Indeed, moderation in screen exposure can have a calming effect, reduce anxiety, increase attention span, and empower children to cultivate meaningful connections with family and friends. Emphasising a balanced lifestyle allows us to fully appreciate the world and the benefits of technology. As we understand the significance of balancing screen time, let us delve into practical steps to enjoy a good summer break with your children. 

Practical steps for balancing online activities 

Set clear expectations

Establish family rules regarding screen time usage. Define specific time limits and identify situations where technology is appropriate, such as during meals or before bedtime. Involve children in the conversation to encourage their ownership, participation and understanding of the guidelines.

Introduce age-appropriate guidelines that work for you and your family members. It will help children manage their screen time and develop time management skills. These guidelines can become a foundation for discussing internet safety and time spent online. 

Encourage outdoor activities

Children enjoy outdoor activities, so parents and carers could encourage them to join organised team sports such as soccer, basketball, tennis, or volleyball over the summer . Explore new places by going on longer bike rides and cycling adventures. Go to the beach or the swimming pool and explore water sports like paddleboarding and kayaking. Engage your children in gardening or other outdoor projects that require physical efforts and foster a sense of responsibility and appreciation for nature.

Promote offline hobbies 

Take the opportunity to spend time with your children. While pursuing offline hobbies, younger children can learn new skills such as reading, drawing, painting, playing musical instruments or building cars with LEGO bricks. Older children can be involved in house activities such as cooking, baking, repairing furniture or redecorating a room.

Organise movie nights and plan regular game nights with board games, card games and video games. Encourage family interaction through imaginary play. It will stimulate your children’s creativity, their critical thinking and strengthen family relationships. 

Explore educational content 

Create an environment where children want to engage with educational and age-appropriate content online. You can encourage them to explore reputable websites, educational apps and platforms that provide enriching experiences, such as learning new languages, playing an instrument, coding, studying engineering, exploring scientific concepts, or learning history and geography. It will nurture children’s interests, broaden their horizons, and empower them to become lifelong learners with a passion for knowledge and personal growth. 

Lead by example

Parents are influential role models and significantly impact children's habits. By consciously practicing healthy screen time habits, we can create a positive environment that encourages a balanced approach to technology use. It is essential to be mindful of our time immersed in screens and strive for a harmonious blend of online activities and real-life experiences. Engage in quality time with your family while fostering real-life activities and face-to-face interactions.

Although it is important to be mindful of the impact of excessive screen time on mental health, children can still enjoy digital devices responsibly. Depending on the age, a child can use digital devices for entertainment with guidance and limitations. For more information about the topic, check out the article providing guidance on age for social media platforms.

Learn more about our SICs (Safer Internet Centres) actions and initiatives regarding balancing online activities for children over the summer: 

  • BEE SECURE , the Luxembourgish Safer Internet Centre, organises an event called the DigiRallye over summer. The concept of the event is to help young people learn about key issues related to digital activities, such as password security and fake online images while playing.
  • The Estonian Safer Internet Centre organised a summer camp seminar in Nelijarve holiday centre and discussed a variety of topics regarding digital realities, and a conscious and safe behaviour on the web.

We wish you a great summer break filled with adventures and beautiful memories with your children. Remember to balance your online and offline activities.

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