School holidays in front of a computer? It's a matter of degrees!

Internet, computer and console games as well as television are the everyday reality of today's kids and teenagers. Here, the right amount of time spent with these media is important.

When kids watch too much TV or surf on the Internet they move less, have a harder time focusing and run the risk of becoming socially isolated. Many parents wonder how much electronic media time they should allow their children. In particular during the school holidays kids often tend to spend the lion's share of their day at home in front of their TV, computer or smart phone. How can we as parents teach them the responsible use of electronic media? It is important for parents to have clear agreements with their children on the use of media. You can come to special agreements for school holidays. Beyond that, you should not leave your younger children in particular unattended before a TV set or a computer. Experts advise parents to negotiate a clear schedule with their children on the use of a computer. The initiative "Look" recommends the following maximum daily media consumption for different age groups:

  • up to 7 years: Jahre: 30 minutes daily
  • 8 to 9 years: 45 minutes daily
  • 10 to 11 years: 60 minutes daily
  • 12 to 13 years: 75 minutes daily.

It is also important for parents to keep an eye on the type content their children are viewing on the Internet. Teenagers use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SchülerVZ to stay in touch with their friends and share things of common interest. Parents should decide with their kids which personal data can be posted so that the kids learn how to use the media correctly and responsibly. As to computer games and gaming consoles, parents should read up on a game before they buy or download it. The age ratings should tell you which games are suitable for what age. Here it too is important to agree on rules and a strict schedule. The same recommendations that apply to TV time also apply to surfing. To avoid stressful situations between parents and their children, one should make clear agreements right from the start.  As always - it is a matter of degrees. As soon as children and teenagers see attractive alternatives to smart phones, computers or TV they usually use these alternatives gladly.