“U.S. teens spend between 20 and 50 hours per week on screen time.” – American Heart Association
As the amount of time kids and teens spend in front of screens increases, so too does the number of parents looking for ways to limit that time. According to a recent study conducted by Internetmatters.org, 47% of parents say they are concerned about the amount of time their child spends online, with 56% of parents feeling their child asks to use devices more often than they would like. Additionally, the World Health Organization’s* most recent screen time guidelines suggest no more than one hour per day for children ages 1-4. (If you would like to learn more about at what age children should receive a device, check out this article on Forbes.com.)
So how can mobile service providers, like you, help? We are so glad you asked, and the good news is – you can! Welcome to the Smith Micro family safety series blog which will address the most pressing issues facing families who are living the always connected, digital lifestyle. Our goal is to help educate service providers on the pervasive issues their customers face in digital life and equip you with solutions to help them. When you offer an easy and affordable solution to their problem, you not only unlock potential new revenue streams, but also build a stronger, more personal relationship with your customers while strengthening your brand. These value-added services can help you attract and retain customers while also deepening your product penetration and usage.
Today’s blog is going to address the ever-growing issue of screen time and how much is too much. We’ll explain why parents are concerned, and what you can do to address these concerns.
What is screen time?
If you aren’t familiar with the term already, screen time refers to the amount of time an individual spends in front of, or interacting with, a screen. This includes TV, laptops, phones, tablets, video games and so on. In today’s life, we are bombarded with screens from the time we wake up until we fall asleep.
Why are parents concerned about screen time?
If you take a moment and search the term “screen time” online, you’ll find no shortage of articles, newsletters, reports, and videos condemning the amount of time kids are spending with their various devices. Many of these online publications will cite studies linking excessive screen time to obesity, loss of sleep, irregular sleep patterns, poor performance in school, lack of social development, depression, anxiety, and more. The interesting thing is that although these issues do concern parents, that’s not what they worry about the most. In fact, many parents are most concerned with the quality of the content their kids are accessing. Check out the infographic below to see what concerns parents the most about their kids and screen time.
How Wireless Carriers can help with Screen Time Management
For many parents, the idea of putting a limit on screen time for their family can seem like an impossible task and many don’t know how to approach it or what tools can help them. This is where you come in. You have their attention as their mobile service provider, so you are perfectly positioned to offer a screen time management solution. You are already in their homes, helping them to stay connected so it just makes sense that you help with solutions to ease the challenge of today’s always connected lifestyle. Here are some ways that our SafePath® Connected Life Platform can become your ally in helping parents with the screen time dilemma.
- Offer parents family focused, technology-based solutions. SafePath® combines powerful parental controls and screen time features with an easy to use interface that focuses on creating conversations within families.
- Filter out inappropriate content. SafePath® enables parents to block websites they deem inappropriate or that contain negative content.
- Block Unwanted Apps. Make sure your child’s phone has only the apps you approve. From individual applications to entire app stores, SafePath® puts parents in control.
- Press Pause. Hit pause on all or some of children’s devices with a single button. Perfect for putting an end to distracted dinners and making sure study time and sleep remain device free.
- Time Limits. Want to make sure kids are paying attention in class instead of playing the latest game? No problem. SafePath® includes the ability to set time limits for some or all applications. This feature lets parents restrict app usage to certain times, while allowing kids to request access if they need to.
Now that you know the challenges involved in digital parenting and what you can do to help, it’s time to take the next step.
Learn more about how Smith Micro’s SafePath platform helps wireless carriers deliver family safety services to mobile subscribers.
*Check out the full report from the World Health Organization here.