Technology Time for Siblings of Different Ages

By ParentTV on 15 Apr 2019
Categories: Technology

Having children of different ages, and at different stages of development, can pose many parenting challenges. One area that is a very common quandary for modern parents in this situation is access to technology.

The issue of screen time can be hard for parents to navigate with lots of contradictory advice and guidelines regarding what is best for our children at different ages. Then there is the pressure from our kids regarding what they want to do, what their friends are allowed to do and other societal expectations. On top of this, there is content that may not be appropriate for siblings of different ages to access together. This can all cause a lot of contention in the household, not to mention being hard for parents to monitor!

For example, a 12 year old in the first year of high school, with their own device for learning, will probably require more screen time and access to different content, than their 8 year old sibling. That 8 year old will in turn want to access different content to their 4 year old sibling.

It can be a real juggling act for parents who ultimately just want happy, healthy kids.

When it comes to managing screen time/content access across an age-range of children in the family, technology expert Dr Kristy Goodwin has some great advice in her Parent TV video here.

This includes, being informed about content by using sources such as Common Sense Media to access reviews and parent guides, regarding age-appropriate content. This can be a great way to find content that a range of children will be interested in.

Dr Goodwin also suggests maximising each child’s down time, to allocate individual screen time. For example, while a younger child is napping or otherwise occupied in an activity, an older child may access content specific to their age-group. Another possibility is that while an older child is at an after school activity, the younger child has their turn.

Or you may have screen time allocated whereby all kids can access separate devices simultaneously.

Whatever approach you use, it is wise to set clear, consistent guidelines within the household so that everyone knows what is expected/allowed in regards to accessing technology. As with everything, consistency and clear boundaries are key in establishing achievable results.

Dr Goodwin also has an excellent (and refreshing) approach to appropriate amounts of screen time, which she shares in this Parent TV video, along with advice on times of the day screen time can have the most impact.

For more advice on setting screen time rules for individual kids and other technology-related parenting issues, search the ParentTV technology category here.