Help your child achieve a healthy balance in their online and offline activities

‘Consider your child’s screen use in the context of their overall health and wellbeing. For example, is online time getting in the way of their sleep and exercise? Is it impacting on their face-to-face connections with family and friends? The answers to these questions will guide you and help strike the right balance of online and offline activities for your child’ - E safety Commissioner


Parent and carers, there is no magic figure. The right amount of screen time can depend on a range of factors like your child’s age and maturity, the kind of content they are consuming, their learning needs and your family routine. 


It can be easy to focus only on the clock, but the quality and nature of what they are doing online, and your involvement, are just as important.


The following is an excerpt from our School Counsellor Network:


Parents and carers can place appropriate limits on their children’s use of electronic media (e-media) by creating family rules, but an additional strategy is for parents and carers to be media mentors to their children. As a media mentor, you can play an important role in helping your child to:

  • be cyber-safe

  • be media literate

  • Model safe conversations about electronic devices. Part of this is to pick your timing; for example, it’s appropriate to assert family rules when your child remains on a video game beyond a pre-arranged time, but don’t try to start a new conversation about their e-media use while they are in the middle of a game. Use conversation starters like, “I’m concerned about your screen time. When can we have a conversation about it?” instead of “You’re always on your device.”

  • Discuss advertising in the media. Watch some ads and discuss the “tactics” of advertisers.

  • Tell your child to never click on an ad or fill out a form without your permission. Contests and promotions are often ways that companies obtain emails and phone numbers, and some ads are disguised as games.

  • CLICK HERE for more tips regarding advertising awareness

  • Can your child accurately tell you what “YouTube” is? What is “uploading”? What is a “YouTube channel”?

  • Technically, YouTube is intended for age 13 and up; what the site considers age-appropriate may not match your values. Talk to your child about having “Restricted Mode” on their YouTube settings (if they don’t already have it). CLICK HERE to read more 


Family time: ask family members to choose a favourite (family-appropriate) YouTube video to view together. This can also be an opportunity to talk about respecting each other’s choices.


Internet searches: Discuss how you aim to find efficient keywords/search terms and then how you decide which might be the best results to click on. Ask your child how they go about this. Research some interest topics together.


Discuss plagiarism: What do schools and universities teach about plagiarism? What are penalties for plagiarism?


Discuss: ‘if you wouldn’t do it in real life, don’t do it online.’


It’s our aim for our school community to have a more thoughtful and considered approach to helping children regarding electronic media use; CLICK HERE to read about one family’s 48-hour experiment of having no screen-time limits for their four children.


Also, bear in mind that learning to handle boredom is a normal part of growing up (CLICK HERE for a great article about this


Talitha Treasure

School Counsellor

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