Do you remember what screen time looked like when you were a child? Maybe it was playing on your Atari gaming system at home? Or possibly it was playing Pacman at your local arcade? How about the nightmare of dialing onto the internet?
Fast forward to today, and there are so many different ways for children to entertain or educate themselves using screens. Today, many children have multiple screens at their disposal: smartphones, iPads, computers, gaming systems, and many other screens.
When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, screen time limits for children went out the window for most families as we all adjusted to work and school from home. While education, entertainment, and screen time are becoming one in the same, parents are bound to ask, “What does all this screen time mean for the health of our children?”
Several issues can be associated with screen time. First, high levels of gaming and internet usage can create a sense of addiction. We witness this when taking away a tablet or gaming system, and the child throws a temper tantrum. Additionally, there are more severe consequences for unattended internet usage. For example, there can be inappropriate pop-ups on ads or links that children may not be able to tell are unsafe. In addition, other applications such as social media may be influencing your older children to do inappropriate activities. For example, a teenager may believe their videos to be funny. Still, that video that they just made on the internet could have a lasting impression that affects their future.
We are the first generation of parents dealing with social media and internet usage. Therefore, we can’t go to our parents and ask them what they did to limit social media when we were children. This issue is for us to figure out on our own, which can be a daunting task.
So it comes to the question, do you ever wonder how much time your family is spending online? Some may say, “I wish there were an app that shows my family’s log-in hours, what gaming systems they are using, and at what times during the day. An app that can monitor how long they can stay online individually and then log them off when their time limit is over.”
Well, I have good news – there IS an app for that!
Xfinity xFi, is a Wi-Fi platform created by Comcast to allow customers to personalize their Wi-Fi experience in the home. So what does this look like for you? I had the opportunity to attend a special event, partnering with Comcast and Twin Cities Mom Collecti ve to learn all about the Xfinity xFi platform.
The Xfinity xFi digital dashboard app can be downloaded on your phone or tablet and has many different options:
- Monitor all electronic devices for each individual in your home.
- Assign “timeouts” which will pause Wi-Fi access during dinner or bedtime or other time that fits your family’s needs
- View what time family members log in and out of their device and see which apps they use and for how long.
- You can select the days of the week when they are allowed to use the device (create a schedule for the week/end).
This application is very secure and has parental controls. Xfinity partners with 3rd party cyber security to create a safe search for social media such as YouTube.
If you are a Xfinity customer, be sure to check out the Xfinity xFi app, available now on IOS and Android. It will download on your phone as a House Icon. If you are not a customer, I highly recommend checking this out – it is a game changer for managing screen time in the home!
Technology is here to stay. Therefore, it is essential to understand the ways we can all adapt to it.
Screen time can be used in many positive ways. Look at how much your children were able to talk and see their friends online during the pandemic. I know my children were excited to have zoom calls with their friends and family.
Your children are living a life none of us ever had. Encourage them safe and healthy boundaries with their electronic devices while living a happy, loving life. Teach them respect for others and themselves and give them the support of screen time in a positive and encouraging way.
Networking can be beautiful for everyone.