Striking a balance between family time and screen time was the focus of a presentation in Melfort last month.
A Community Wellness Assessment conducted in the Melfort area identified screen time as a concern among Melfort residents.
“We chose to focus on young children, growth and development,” explained Rita Robertson, Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) Senior Health Educator, Primary Health Care Facilitator and Counsellor. “We wanted to provide information for caregivers on balancing home, work, and family life.”
Research indicates early screen use may be habit-forming and have a lasting influence on child development, with negative impacts on sleep and physical activity.
Proactive approaches to supporting child health and development in the digital world include minimizing and being mindful about screen time, modelling healthy screen time use, and mitigating the risks associated with screen time. This includes implementing daily screen-free times, avoiding screen time at least one hour before bedtime, and prioritizing educational, age-appropriate programming.
Parents were also encouraged to monitor their child’s screen time by co-viewing and discussing online activity, replacing screen time with alternate activities, and developing a family media plan detailing when, how and where screens are to be and not be used.