from The Digital Invasion by Dr. Archibald D. Hart & Sylvia Hart Frejd

Recommended Screen Limits for Children

(American Academy of Pediatrics)

Children ages -2 – NO screen time.  Babies need all five senses to develop at this stage, and the digital screen only develops two of these senses- seeing and hearing.

Children ages 3 to 5 – One hour per day. This is the age of make believe.  They have no logic at this age so they need to spend playtime with other children.

Children age 6 to 12- No more than ninety minutes a day.

Teenagers 13 to 19- Two hours a day.


  • Keep reasonably regular hours- brains needs a consistent sleep onset
  • No caffeine after 4 PM
  • No tech activity after 8 PM- stimulates adrenaline glands
  • Exercise
  • De-stress before bed
  • Don’t use cell phone as your alarm clock


  • Carefully evaluate the age of your kids when they start texting
  • Makes rules around when and where.  No texting during meals, during class or on family outings
  • Phone is turned OFF at night and collected
  • No texting while they should be concentrating on something else- driving, conversations, homework
  • Establish and enforce consistent consequences for misuse
  • Watch your own behavior
  • Prioritize their safety over their privacy


  • No checking  iphone or emails until after morning devotions
  • End digital day by dinner at least early in the evening
  • No checking iphone when a meal  with others
  • No digital gadgets at mealtimes
  • Limit checking emails to once every few hours
  • No talking on the phone to virtual people when real people are in front of you
  • Think twice before you post, email or tweet
  • Take a digital fast once a week or once a month
  • Practice the presence of people. Spend as much time in your real life as you can
  • Sleep device free – keep the phones out of the bedroom or at least on silent


  • Be polite and respectful.
  • Spell check and proof read everything- errors diminish the credibility of the message.
  • Don’t use all caps- is considered shouting.
  • Reveal only what is appropriate.
  • Be truthful – be yourself.  You are not anonymous.
  • Don’t explode or respond in some nasty way.  Netiquette is always civilized.
  • Don’t follow spam or popup links.
  • Be conservative in emailing- quality is better than quantity.
  • Don’t habitually facebook, email or tweet in the late-night hours.
  • Use discretion when sharing information online.


Stay involved in your children’s digital lives – The most effective protection a parent can offer is to be intimately involved with their lives both inside and outside the home.   In addition:

  • Keep all computers in an open area were all technology activity can be observe
  • Parental control software to consider:  BSecure Online- iWonderPro- Safe Eyes- Net Nanny- Webwatcher
  • Be alert.  Watch, listen, learn, and engage with your kids.
  • Create a safe home environment that makes it easy for your kids to share their heart’s desires, concerns, apprehensions, fears, temptations and experiences in all areas of their technological experience, even their mistakes.
  • Establish good media habits for everyone in the family.
  • Attach all media to a system of accountability.  keep it in a common place.  Never allow a computer or a TV in your child’s room.  Have filters.  Know their passwords and codes.  Snoop often and check history often.  Make media use a family affair.  Consider having a time when all technology is checked in and locked up for the night.
  • Determine a media diet and stick to it.
  • Recognize the warning signs. Tired in the morning.  Lost his appetite for things he normally loves. Withdrawn. Irritable, defensive and touchy when asked about media habits. Does the screen suddenly change when you walk by?
  • Give them alternative entertainment activities. Sports, hobbies, board games, books.


  • Make your time with God sacred – interruption free.   The goal is to remain undistracted and wholeheartedly focused with your attention on God.
  • Build in time for spiritual practices- a spiritual practice or discipline is nothing more than experiencing God in the real world.
  • Build in time for simplicity, silence, and solitude.  Don’t ignore Scripture’s invitation to be still.  God calls us to “lie down in green pastures” so he can “lead us beside still waters” (Ps. 23:2). Our digital world does the exact opposite, keeping us wired – amped- much of the time.  In effect, there is a flooding of adrenaline, and then we become too tense to really connect with God and His peace.  God has built in us a need to be still.  Every part of our body, and especially our brain, has a need for rest.   When we practice inner silence, it actually helps to restore important parts of the brain- especially the prefrontal cortex that is the thinking part of the brain, thus increasing our capacity to be creative and productive.


Young children:

  • De-clutter their rooms and toy areas.  Having too many toys at a child’s disposal encourages distracted play.
  • Encourage toys that are not high in sensory stimulation.
  • De-clutter their work space and remove distractions from sight and hearing.  Teach them to tidy up after each work session.
  • Limit media as much as possible when they are little.  It will fill every available space.
  • Check the media practices in the homes your children spend time in.
  • Limit TV and turn it off when not being used.
  • Require regular reading time and spend time reading out loud together.
  • Encourage games such as chess, checkers, matching, scrabble, etc.
  • Encourage cards games such as Hearts, Spades, Gin, – games in which players have to pay attention and count cards as they play.
  • Do crossword and Sudoku puzzles.
  • Encourage creative, imaginative play and OUTDOOR unstructured play.
  • Teach kids not to interrupt but to wait their turn. (delayed gratification)
  • Expect kids to listen to you and respond the first time. Don’t accept excuses such as “I did not hear” or “I forgot” or “I did not understand.”  Your responsibility is to communicate clearly and their responsibility is to listen and respond.
  • Listen carefully to them, acknowledge what you heard, make a statement back and ask a question.
  • Limit multitasking and encourage single focused activities.
  • Don’t multitask your kids.  Put the cell phone away in the car when you ride with them.  Have conversations.
  • Encourage face to face conversations.


  • Expect homework time to be unplugged.
  • Put  Ipads, ipods, and cell phones away at the table and eat your meals together.
  • Keep media out of bedrooms.
  • Monitor TV and computer use as a regular practice.
  • Set a time when all media devices are turned off or turned in.
  • Encourage low stimulus activities such as hiking, walking, gardening, reading.
  • Limit high stimulus, thrill seeking activities.
  • Put security measures in place.  Check your kid’s text and phone logs.
  • Teach kids the skill of writing emails and texts mindfully.  Ask them to craft a set of personal guidelines to use in their communications.
  • Set up research guidelines; limit web surfing