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21st Mar 2019

Five major signs your child needs less screen time

Know the signs.

Denise Curtin

Technology, technology, technology.

It is pretty difficult to try and imagine our lives nowadays without our iPhones, iPads, smart TVs or any one piece of technology that wasn’t there pre 2004.

And as most of our kiddies weren’t here pre 2004 either, it is hard for them to even grasp a life without their favourite game on Mummy’s touch screen computer or show on Netflix. But one thing they need to grasp is when “enough is enough”.

Now, I won’t sit here and tell you your kids should never be on an iPad or using your iPhone because lets face it, they all do at some stage – be it to entertain themselves at a family event or during long car rides… but there is a limit as to when it’s time to power off – and here are five major red flags as to when to do so.

A sudden change in mood

If your child appears to become “glued into a screen” and asking them to pay attention or listen to you results in a temper tantrum or a sudden fit of anger – it’s time to switch all devices off. Dr. Colleen Carroll, a childhood screen addiction specialist and author of Hooked on Screens told Romper that one way to moderate this behavior is by setting boundaries around how much time is appropriate in the home and what hours screens are allowed.

They have a headache

This one is a big red flag. If your child seems to be having a lot of screen time – be it on a device or watching television excessively, and then starts complaining about headaches, the screen time is actually beginning to affect their health. It is now time to take them away from the screen ASAP and opt for a short digital detox followed by a more regulated and scheduled electronics timetable.

They are having trouble sleeping

“Sleep problems are an indicator that your child is getting too much screen time, particularly in the evening,” Chris Brantner, a certified sleep science coach at, told Romper. Making sure your child doesn’t use electronics past a certain hour and most importantly doesn’t bring any to bed is very important. I remember when I was a teen “phones on the mantlepiece” was a rule before bed and now I am seriously thankful for it.

They fight with their siblings over using the device

“MY TURN… NOOOO MY TURN… MOOOOOOOOM”… If this is a regular occurrence in your home, then it is time to relay some ground rules. Remind them that it could be nobody’s turn and you can easily pull the device from both of them. Keep any signs of technology addiction at bay by reminding your children that this is something you can live without and they very well soon well be if they don’t learn to share.

They stop interacting with their friends

And lastly, if your child is opting to stay in over hanging out or participating in activities with their friends, be it a birthday party or even running amuck in the grass. It could be time to revisit the schedule.

Best of luck – you got this!