Technology is a part of everyday life for most children these days. Managing children’s screen time effectively is important to make sure that risks associated with the overuse of electronic media are reduced. 

Benefits and risks of technology

Child development experts recommend limiting children’s screen time, and this also applies to pre-teens. As a parent, you are likely to be concerned about the potential negative impacts from pre-teens using technology. 

We hear in the news about the potential risks, such as accessing inappropriate material, reduction in physical activity, and excessive overuse or preoccupation with their devices, creating problems with family and friends.  

However, technology can be a great tool for entertainment, education, and communication. For example, to access TV shows, movies and games, apps and websites. Children can use technology to complete school work and find information for assignments, and use social media to stay in touch with friends and family.  

Quality apps

There are many good quality apps that may support your child’s learning by: 

  • encouraging your child to be creative; 
  • encouraging problem-solving;  
  • helping your child to develop communication skills and broaden vocabulary; and
  • helping them to develop social skills. 

Think about the age appropriateness of apps and always check privacy settings.  

Staying safe online

Discuss the risks with your child. In particular, remind them never to give any personal information over the Internet, like their name, address, phone numbers, or school. This includes not posting photos in their school uniform.

Monitoring your child’s use on a device is crucial to making sure they are not being exposed to any content that can cause them harm.  

Setting rules around the time spent on a device is one way to monitor their use. Also, consider putting parental controls and restrictions in place so they can’t access sites that are not appropriate for them.  

Want to know more? 

Raising Children Network – Pre-teens entertainment and technology 

Braveheart – Keeping safe online 

Office of the eSafety Commissioner – eSafety resources and advice 

Learning Potential – Cyberbullying