You asked

How do I make sure that my child is studying at the computer and not just socialising?

Getting kids to focus on studying and not just the latest online craze is never easy. Too much time sat on the internet is a problem for many families. Children are spending more time online and addicted to instant gratification that comes through gaming, online and media sources.

There are several worrying problems that are causing concerns for parents including:
• Obesity
• Reduction in learning and making an effort in school
• Higher risk of being exposed to inappropriate pictures, videos or information
• Addiction
• Higher risk of behavioural problems
• Cyber-bullying
• Reduction in the quality of the relationship with both family and peers.

Technology offers many advantageS. Nonetheless, experts suggest that our kids should spend no longer than between thirty minutes and half an hour of screen time per day. This is a good thing as the less time your child spends sat in front of the screen; the more likely they are to be involved in learning, increasingly active and enjoy good relationships with their parents.

Parents might find these tips on how to reduce screen-time helpful:
Negotiate an appropriate amount of screen time with your child, you may decide on an appropriate amount of game time per day and only make it available after homework, chores and exercise have been done. Establish ground-rules for computer/multimedia use

Setting ground rules can promote engagement in other activities such as reading, finishing school projects, practicing their musical instrument and studying for exams. It also improves a child’s quality of life.

Stick to a routine
Sticking to a routine is the best way of regulating the amount of screen time your children have. TV may be limited to just one show or a specific time may be allowed for online activities.  Having a routine will nurture compliance, increase activity and foster better relationships.

Turn it off at important times
TV, games, mobile phones and the internet should be firmly switched off during family time and dinner. It’s a good idea to have one night a week when these are banned entirely.

If we want our children to reduce the screen time in their lives, then we need to do the same. Turning off the T.V and picking up a book or going for a walk is likely to be far more effective than just telling them what to do.

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