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  • RulesofDadding

Screen Time / Scream time!

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

I’m 39 and as a child screen time was limited to Saturday morning TV like Going Live and Sunday teatime when we would watch The Borrowers and then Mum would “settle down for the evening” with Antiques Roadshow… In fact, you still know now not to ring her on a Sunday between 8pm and 9pm because you will either get told very quickly “Antiques roadshow is on! Ring back” or nobody will answer the phone. Heaven forbids if anyone needed to contact her in an emergency… I may ring one Sunday just to see what would happen! When we weren’t allowed to watch TV, we were out on the street playing with friends and invariably getting up to mischief. The time that I was allowed a T.V in my room I was fourteen. In fact, I’ll never forget being so excited about getting my first TV, it was black and white and had four channels that you got to by tuning it, much like a safe dial.

But, in today’s world when TV’s, Consoles and devices are more prevalent what is the ideal amount of screen time for your child?

Anyone else have one of these?

I must admit at this point, if I need to get on with some jobs whilst Dad is at work I do give in and say “Just let me do this. Here’s your Nintendo go nuts!”

The advantages at that point far outweigh the disadvantages and any notion of screen time damage goes completely out of my brain.

But what are the dangers of allowing your kids to “go nuts with screens”?

Blue light

Blue light comes from all devices, the exposure to which can mess with the body’s natural rhythm, in turn creating problems like disturbing children’s sleeping patterns, eye strain. Nowadays however you can reduce the blue light emitted from devices. If you don’t know how to do this then why not enforce this handy rule suggested by leading ophthalmologists.

Credit: My Myopia


Research suggests that the average child spends up to 6 hours each day looking at screens. However, this could be more with the introduction of smart screens in school classrooms. It has also been linked to children’s development or lack thereof. If your child sits on the bus with a screen, they are not paying attention to outside stimuli. They don’t see human interaction, the world around them, nature and they don’t get the opportunity to interact with those things themselves.

This could lead to poor speech, poor danger awareness, social skills being underdeveloped and overall learning disabilities.

Mental Health

Screen time has been linked to anger, frustration, aggression, and other emotional health problems, it can exhaust a child mentally, so when you ask for the child to do something like homework or reading straight after reading their brains are too tired to focus. This can lead to post screen time rage!

We’ve all had it, well everyone in this household anyway! Your child is having a great time on the Xbox, you think you’ve done well as you have limited screen time to 1 hour, but then you ask your child to come off and complete their reading and then out of nowhere they fly into a fit of rage! Uncontrollable screaming, throwing themselves around the room, saying horrible things etc. This is post-screen time rage!

But how do you stop it?

Things we’ve tried that work!

  • Set clear rules and be consistent.

  • Limiting screen time – You can use a timer or an app. Some consoles (if not all) do have parental controls for you to set the screen time allowance. This can be changed if needed.

  • Give them a warning before screen time ends and remind them of the expectations/rules

  • A reward and consequence system works well. If you limit screen time allow them a couple of extra minutes or let them finish a level/watching a video if they come off without fuss. If not, the consequence should be about screen time also. Take time off the next allowance. This reinforces the rules and expectations for this activity and does not interfere with any other activity throughout the course of the day.

  • Do not get into an argument, the rules are the rules and that is that.

Credit: World Health Organisation

In conclusion

Limit screen time, if your child is getting enough stimulation from different things then they will develop. Unless you are agoraphobic and never leave the house chances are when you are out, you are out, and screen time isn’t a thought as you are having too much fun to care about the Xbox at home.

Ideas for screen time free activities…

Come on now! Do you really need these…?

· Go for a walk

· Play a board game

· Go swimming

· Go to the park

· Colour

· Play an instrument

· Do some arts and crafts

· Visit with family/friends

· Read a book

Now that you’ve read this go and do something else… or if this is the first thing you’ve done on the internet why not read another of our blog posts – maybe one of the reviews we’ve done on screen free activities…



Paul McDonough
Paul McDonough

Screen time is absolutely something I struggle with reconciling. Whilst the immediate benefits of being able to have a bit of time to tidy up, or get other things done is incredibly worthwhile, the long term issues might not be apparent until they're a bit older. At the moment, for me, it's the cbeebies pull - mostly sensory effects and language development - eventually it'll be tablets, computers and consoles. It's a delicate balance because you can't shut it out, and invariably as they get older they'll compare screen-time allocations with friends. The other issue is, that if you give in a few too many times, then it'll be harder to bring it back down to a more manageable amount when…


Hi Paul, Thanks for this. Yes i completely agree it is a delicate balance, and one that every parent needs to decide themselves. We do see a marked improvement on behaviour and regulation with limiting screen time and for us our system works.

I think children will always compare themselves to other children, but it's good to have the "recommended" screen times to argue they are getting just enough or a little over and if there is any discussions it should be altered to what is advised.... That'll soon keep them quiet!

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