Screen Time and How to Stay on Top of It

ICLT Newsletter Week 4, Term 3

SCREEN TIME and how to stay on top of it.

As a parent of two teenage daughters, I am only too aware of the pressures of devices. Phones, iPads, iPods, Play Stations, Laptops… they are everywhere and with wifi almost everywhere these days, it seems that they’re hard to escape. As parents we need to be strong and take control of our children’s screen times. No devices should be allowed in children’s rooms. This is especially important at night, when the temptation to ‘hop on and play another game’ or ‘chat to that friend’ is beyond our children’s natural ability to control. We need to also set an example by putting our own phones away. Be present with our children and play and ‘be with them.’

Lately I have heard of younger students in our school playing the game ‘FORTNITE Battle Royale.’ This game, with over 125 million registered players worldwide, encourages players to battle each other to death using a variety of weaponry.

It is important to consider the addictive nature of this game and to note also that teachers at our school have noticed its impact on a number of students’ behaviour and interactions with peers.
With an age rating of 13+, this game raises many cybersafety concerns. This age rating is due to the: ‘frequent scenes of mild violence. It is not suitable for persons under 13 years of age’. Importantly, this PEGI rating only takes into account the content in the game and not the communication element, where players may be exposed to unmoderated swearing and offensive language from strangers in voice or on-screen text chat. This leaves children exposed to be contactable by online strangers. For this reason, cyber safety experts do not recommend this game or deem it suitable for primary aged children.
Children’s desires to play this game are strong but we must be strong enough to say no – especially when younger children ask for these games. They will beg, they will persist, they will tell you that ‘You’re the only Mum and Dad in my class who doesn’t let their child play it!’ and even after you have said NO twenty five times, they will keep asking.

Your role is to stay calm and stick with your NO. These ratings are put there for a reason and the games will still be there when they’re 13. Our children’s safety and their personal development is more important than these games and devices.

I have attached links to information on the game Fortnite and on managing your child’s screen time below. Please feel free to discuss with me at any time.

Tania Godfrey