by Gillian Jarvis

Digital device use and healthy development – part two

In my previous article, we looked at the impact of excessive screen time on our children and why many parents struggle with managing their child’s device time.

Here is a list of all the reasons I have told myself (mother of two boys) and hear from other parents of why they struggle with their limits:

  • My child whines and has tantrums.
  • I have to work and am too tired to change things.
  • Everyone else’s child has…
  • My child will hate me if I apply limits.

All the above excuses would be less of a burden if we try to start (or re-start if the horse has bolted) our children’s digital journey well – just like we do when they start solids, toilet train, we choose their schools etc.

The key is balance

Parents and caregivers can foster this balance by setting clear guidelines on screen time, encouraging/insisting on physical activities, promoting social interactions through sports, clubs, play dates and engaging in shared screen time to ensure the content is appropriate and educational.

Being on devices together can be great fun and help you connect which also helps with setting limits!

Manage settings

It’s important to know how to manage the settings across any device that you give your child access to. This can be challenging but you can’t teach your children to use devices safely if you don’t know how to do so yourself.

There is lots of helpful information out there that is being updated regularly. Here is one that I find helpful:

Is it appropriate?

You also need to know how to work out what content is appropriate. To do this you can view it with them as well as do some research yourself. Common Sense Media is a great resource.

Look at your own device usage

Lastly, you need to check in and modify your own device habits. We are the number one influence on our children’s habits! They model directly off us.

Remember – you are not alone in this. Talk with parents around you and help each other with knowledge and shared ideas around limit setting. I can assure you that no one has this one sorted to perfection.



Brought to you by Brighton Grammar School

Gillian Jarvis is an experienced Paediatric Occupational Therapist (OT) who has been working with families for many years. As well as more traditional OT, she specialises in digital wellbeing, child development and mental health. You can find her at: This article is about


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    Digital device use and healthy development

    By Gillian Jarvis