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  • Writer's pictureCyberlite

Managing Summer Screen Time: Finding the Right Balance This School Holiday

When school's out, the battle over screen time can intensify for families. With so much free time, many kids want (or expect) to spend endless hours gaming, scrolling social media, or watching YouTube. Unlimited passive screen time spent zoning out, however, comes with risks like excessive sedentary behavior, poor sleep, internet addiction, and exposure to age-inappropriate content.

At the same time, not all screen time is created equal. Active screen time spent engaged in enriching digital activities like researching topics of interest, coding projects, or playing mentally-stimulating games can provide developmental benefits over the summer months. The goal shouldn't be eliminating screens entirely, but finding a balance between passive consumption and active use.

Some tips for navigating active vs. passive screen time:

  • Discuss the difference between mindless scrolling (passive) and using apps/websites to create, explore, and learn (active). Agree on a schedule that allows reasonable limits for both.

  • Use apps and parental controls to block addictive websites/games during certain hours to reduce passive time. But avoid overly restricting active educational use.

  • Identify qualifying "active" apps, games and websites that spark creativity, problem-solving, and cognitive engagement. Allow more time for these.

  • For passive viewing times like watching shows or YouTube, discuss setting a time limit, avoiding autoplay, and taking regular breaks to stay present.

  • Prohibit passive scrolling during mealtimes and before bed to improve health and sleep.

  • Become familiar with games and apps your kids use so you can experience the active use together and guide the experience.

  • Most importantly, be an authoritative technology role model by managing your own passive vs. active online habits.

With open communication and flexible guidelines around passive consumption vs. active use, you promote a balanced approach that allows independence while limiting mindless burnout. Engaged screen time over the summer can be a potent way to develop discipline and spark new skills.


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