Pamela Rontziokos

School holidays have come and gone. For children, school holidays mean roaming the backyard, hanging out with family and friends, and even getting up to some sneaky mischief.  Yet in our digitalised world, Tik Tok, phones, iPads and PlayStation see kids increasingly on the couch consumed by their screens for hours.

These school holidays, you’ve undoubtedly said the words, ‘get off that phone’ to your children. For next holidays, consider limiting your child’s screen time – let them be bored, let them enjoy the art of day dreaming. The screen can hinder their creative spirit and chance to learn new skills and hobbies.

The Australian Government Australian Institute of Family Studies recommends 2 hours of recreational screen time – not including screen time necessary for education. More time beyond this can have long term impacts on a child’s health such as obesity, sleeping problems, and chronic neck and back pain. 

The use of technology is hard to steer clear or resist, particularly after two years of online schooling. It has become habitual and normal, so teaching children and young people how to balance their technology consumption is key. 

This can include only allowing 2 hours of screen time per day, removing devices 1 hour before sleep in the bedroom, and setting time limits on devices.

It important not to aggressively ban the use of electronic devices in your home, instead educate your child on the harms of too much gaming and social media scrolling – let them control their consumption.

This will help them feel less addicted, dependent or socially anxious without their device.

Getting involved in council and community events that host school holiday programs at parks, libraries, and communal areas is another way to limit screen time during school holidays. Children can also play with their neighbours, go to the park, play board games, read, or play sport.