(NBC News) – Getting kids to disengage with smartphones and tablets can be a challenge for parents, but experts say tech moderation is important.
“A healthy media diet matters for all kids and particularly when they’re young it can impact their brain development,” says Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer.
The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages screen time for kids under 2 and advises limiting daily screen time to one to two hours a day for older kids.
They suggest parents set clear limits and stick to them.
Verizon offers some tools to help parents monitor device usage.
“Family Base is a safeguard system that we have in place that will allow parents to set alerts,” says Verizon’s Jonathan Moss.
Parents can limit screen time remotely and monitor how the child is using the device.
Free third party apps like “Dinner Time Plus” can also help.
“They allow you to monitor what apps are being used and how often the device is being used and what time,” Moss explains.
Experts say an engaged parent is the best protection.
“You should do your homework so if you don’t know what Snapchat is or what Instagram is,” Steyer says. “It’s important to go look it up at Commonsense.org or elsewhere and at least familiarize yourself with the basics.”
Parents should also remember that they are role models.
“If you’re constantly glued to a screen yourself, that can have an impact on your kid,” Steyer warns.
Experts also suggest parents share screen time with their kids to make it a more positive media experience, like watching a movie or ball game together as a family.
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