Setting limits and staying safe with screen time

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Screen time is a part of daily life for most of us, but too much can have a negative effect on your mental health. Find out how to set limits on your screen time and how to stay safe online.

Changing your screen time habits

If you – or your parents – want to reduce your screen time, here are a few suggestions to help change your habits.

  • Schedule your screen time. For instance, allow yourself only 20 minutes of screen time in the morning before school or decide that you’ll enjoy screen time after doing your homework.
  • Avoid screens (especially mobile devices) in the hour before you go to bed.
  • Keep TVs and computers out of bedrooms. If you have a phone, charge it outside your bedroom at night.
  • Turn off the TV and put your phone away while you’re eating breakfast or dinner. Make a deal with others in your family to do the same.
  • If you tend to snack while enjoying screen time, try to choose nutritious options such as vegetables, fruit or a yogurt.
  • Balance your screen time with fun activities that don’t involve a screen, like drawing, painting or playing games with your family and friends.
  • Consider doing a digital detox with your family, say by logging off from social media for 24 hours or even a weekend now and again.
  • If a detox sounds too severe, take small bursts of time without your device. Leave it at home while you go out for a walk or go to the store.

How to stay safe online

Screens will always be part of your life. That said, you can take some simple steps to keep yourself as safe as possible online.

  • Remember that not everyone you meet online is who they say they are. Sometimes people create fake profiles to target sites or apps aimed at kids and teens.
  • Never share your personal contact details with someone you haven’t met in person.
  • Don’t answer an online friend’s questions about details about yourself, where you live or your family, no matter how friendly they seem.
  • Remember that what you post online stays online and can be shared widely in an instant. Be careful about the photos or videos you share and the comments you make, whether on YouTube or in private messages or closed groups.
  • Tell your parents or another trusted adult if anybody is bullying or harassing you online, in group chats or in private messages.
Dealing with difficult moments

How to use: This video guides you through an exercise of compassion. Use it when you are finding it hard to show kindness to yourself and others or if you are having trouble getting along with someone in your life. Follow along with this video, listening to the guidance to help you regain a kind perspective towards a difficult person.

Last updated: March 22nd 2019