A lot has been written about screen time and its effect on both kids and adults. Some (including many gaming and social media firms) take the warnings about these effects very seriously. Others think it’s just another wave of moral panic.
Genuine addiction to anything is obviously something to be avoided. Here’s a few questions that can help you to understand whether excessive screen time is a problem issue for you or your child:
Screen time addiction checklist
- Do you get nervous when can’t find your phone immediately? Does the discomfort continue until you find the phone?
- Are you constantly checking your mail, social media profile or messenger chat even when you’re not expecting a specific message or call? Do you do this even when someone in the same room is vying for your attention?
- Do you spend more time chatting on social media than face to face?
- Do you closely follow the latest news in mobile technology to ensure you have the latest devices, functionalities and fad apps?
- Do you find it uncomfortable to turn your phone off, even when the situation calls for it?
- Do you text or read your Facebook feed while driving? (obviously this one’s illegal and very dangerous – if you’re doing it, stop!)
- Do you ever bump into other people or objects because your nose is in your screen while you walk?
- Are you the “app king” among your friends? By which I mean that you regularly download a lot of new stuff (apps, pictures, tunes etc.) but don’t use them for long (in many cases opening just once) before searching for the next thing?
- Do you take the phone everywhere (including to bed and the bathroom) with you (and use it there)?
- Is your most commonly used word “Pardon?” or something equivalent, because your attention is on your phone?
Obviously some of these scenarios are more serious indicators of a problem than others. If several of them ring true for you though, you might want to think about finding some way to monitor or limit the amount of time you put into your device.
If you’re thinking about the role of screen time in the life of your child, it might be worth adding a few child specific questions to the ones above:
Child screen addiction questions
- Do you find your child spending more time playing mobile games than anything else?
- Does the amount of time your child spends at a screen grow? Do they notice this?
- Is your child constantly talking about video games, mobile apps and other on-screen content?
- Do you feel your child’s screen time affects their school productivity?
- Does your child keep a phone or computer in their room overnight? If so, are they frequently tired and could it be connected to late night screen use including message or game checking?
If after going through these questions you decide to limit your child’s screen time, Kidslox is a great way to do so. Even if you’re not concerned about the amount of time they’re spending online though, Kidslox can help you keep the quality of that screen time under control too.