The school holidays are well underway, and after several months of home learning for many, families are no stranger to screen time. But how much is too much?

Online tutoring platform MyTutor has offered some advice for parents who are worried about their child’s screen time, so we are sharing it here in case it is of use to parents or teachers who may wish to pass it on.

Know the ‘good’ screen time from the ‘bad’

There is a psychological difference between ‘active’ and ‘passive’ screen time. Active screen time is when we are learning, doing something creative or video chatting to another person. Passive screen time is when we’re vegging out, watching a film or scrolling absent-mindedly through social media. Active screen time is the healthy part of the screen time diet, and should outweigh the amount of passive screen time they spend.

Try to create a ‘balanced diet’ when it comes to screen time

Adam Alter, Social Psychologist and author of “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked” compared healthy screen time to a healthy diet, saying: “It’s important to eat healthy foods alongside candy and dessert, and the same is true of the ’empty calories’ that come from spending too much time passively gazing at screens.” That means balancing out ‘bad’ screen time with good, rather than an all-out ban.

What is ‘too much’ screen time?

With much academic work moving online, children have been glued to their screens through no choice of their own, and that’s before they’ve used any of that time for leisure, to play games, or to socialise with friends.

Signs that a child has been spending too much time gazing at a screen including:- struggling to concentrate on off-screen activities like reading and writing; getting angry when separated from a phone or screen; and avoiding spending time in-person with friends and family.