For the Whole of Their Life.

Parenting Screenagers: How to Manage our Child's Online Existence

How do we manage our child’s online existence, knowing that digital abstinence is no longer a realistic option?

Posted 9th May 2018
By Ellie Rolfe

I don’t know about you but I am increasingly aware of how my family life is becoming dominated by screens. If it is not a laptop for school, it is a phone for connecting with others, or an iPad for playing games or TV watching for relaxation. My children had learnt to swipe and tap before they learnt to hold a pencil or tie their shoelaces.

As a parent, navigating through this avalanche of screens is both confusing and concerning. For, unlike most parenting challenges, I have no frame of reference when it comes to the digital world. I did not grow up with screens and so not only am I unaware of the long-term consequences, my kids also exceed my expertise in this area of life.

So how do we manage our child’s online existence, knowing that digital abstinence is no longer a realistic option? I think there are at least four questions that we all should be addressing as families, how we answer them will depend on our unique family dynamics.

These questions are; How much time are they spending on screens? What are they watching on their screens? When and where are they using their screens? How are they using their screens?

Some very useful websites which address these and other frequently asked parenting questions are:




In summary, I found 8 useful tips to manage your child’s screen time.

- Agree on daily time limits.

- Start with small reductions.

- Resist giving screens to your kids when you go out.

- Set up tech-free zones (such as the bedroom) and tech-free times (at least an hour before sleep).

- Use tech tools to manage access such as parent controls.

- Be involved with their screen time.

- Plan some screen free time for other activities.

- Lead by example as parents.

Martin Telfer

Deputy Principal


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