Screen time is one of those hot button topics, isn’t it? There are so many strong opinions in the community, from medical professionals and educators to commentators. It can be really hard to get the right screen time advice that deciphers fact from fiction.

For many parents, putting on the TV inevitably comes with a side of guilt. However according to Dr Kristy Goodwin, it doesn’t have to. She is a technology and development expert who says it’s perfectly OK for children to have a bit of technology in their lives. The important thing is that we’re informed about technology and put limits in place.

Digital abstinence isn’t realistic. We will be in a much better place if we’re honest that our kids are going to be using technology. I think one of the reasons we’re in hot water is because no one is talking about this issue.

So where should we find that technology and screen time advice? Here are some places to start:

1. Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines

The Australian Department of Health released their guidelines in November 2017. Included in them was some screentime advice.

For children under 5, their screen time recommendations include:

  • Children under 18 months to avoid the use of screen media other than video-chatting
  • Parents of children 18-24 months who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming and watch it with them
  • Children age 2-5 should have screen use limited to 1 hour a day of high-quality programs.

2. iParent website

The Australian Government’s eSafety commissioner set up the iParent website to help parents navigate life with young children in a digital age. There is heaps of advice on there – they talk about online risks, how to safe online and safeguards such as parental controls and filtering software. The advice is all purely based on fact, not opinions or philosophy.  

3. Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media is an American independent nonprofit organisation that aims to provide unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools. It encourages media and technology to be a positive force in kids’ lives. There is a wealth of information including reviews of the latest movies and a heap of parenting questions and answers.

4. The Australian Council on Children and the Media

This Aussie not-for-profit provides evidence-based reviews, information and advocacy to support healthy media choices for children. The Know before you go reviews go through themes that might come up in a movie so you can answer any questions your kid might have. There’s also a free app so you can work out what movies are appropriate for your kids while you’re waiting in the cinema line!

5. Dr Kristy Goodwin

We love Kristy Goodwin’s guilt-free, realistic advice for parenting kids in a digital age. She has a huge amount of information on her website, with articles like ‘Safe screen ideas for kids before bed’ and ‘Is it ok to use screen time as a reward?’. She’s a technology and development expert who translates the latest research into practical advice for parents.

Here are two things we know for sure:

  1. At Birde, we’re parents too and are also struggling to find the balance.
  2. All the video, music and audiobook content on our platform has been chosen by us. We find content that is both educational and heaps of fun. You choose what you want your child to listen to or watch, so you know that it’s safe and appropriate for them. One less thing to worry about!