Youth Health and Parenting in a Digital Age

Youth Health and Parenting in a Digital Age
Posted on 02/27/2024
Youth Health and Parenting in a Digital Age

Our world has increasingly shifted to living online. It’s how we connect with each other, pay bills, make appointments, and access information.  The internet has become an essential resource for everyone.

It’s important to remember that children and young people only know a world that includes the internet. 

Our online world provides benefits and increased potential to engage with the world, but it also comes with risks.  CCRCE has worked closely with NS Health to develop a series of posts aimed to provide families with information and suggestions to support youth digital health.

Helpful Parenting Strategies (The 4 M’s)

  • Manage Screen Use
    • Have a family plan with individual screen time and content limits that everyone can agree to. Learn about parental controls and privacy settings
    • Be present and engaged when screens are used and, whenever possible, co-view and talk about content with children and teens.
    • Discourage media multitasking, especially during homework.
    • Speak proactively with children and teens about acceptable and unacceptable online behaviours.
  • Encourage Meaningful Screen Use
    • Prioritize daily routines (talking face-to-face, a full night’s sleep, and physical activity) over screen use.
    • Prioritize screen activities that are educational, active, or social over those that are passive or unsocial. 
    • Help children and teens to choose appropriate content and recognize problematic content or behaviours.
    • Be a part of your children’s media lives. For example, join in during video game play and ask about their experiences and encounters online.
  • Monitor for Signs of Problematic Screen Use
    • Complaints about being bored or unhappy without access to technology.
    • Oppositional behaviour in response to screen time limits.
    • Screen use that interferes with sleep, school or face-to-face interactions.
    • Screen time that interferes with offline play, physical activities or socializing face-to-face. 
    • Negative emotions following online interactions or video games or while texting.
  • Model Health Screen Use
    • Consider your media habits as a parent, plan time for hobbies, outdoor play and activities.
    • Remind teens of the dangers of texting or using headphones while driving, walking, jogging, or biking.
    • Encourage daily “screen-free” times, especially for family meals and socializing.
    • Make sure screens are “off” when not in use, including background TVs.
    • Avoid screens at least 1 hour before bedtime.
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