Top screen time tips

Around 10 per cent of 3-4 year olds in the UK now have their own tablet. As parents, we know that tablets and devices are going to play an increasingly significant role in our children's lives. It's not a matter of if children should be exposed to technology, but how, says app expert Björn Jeffery.

 

Screentime

 

It's what's on the screen that counts

The assumption is that all time little ones spend using a screen is passive, but this isn't the case. Some activities and games that take place on a screen are inherently interactive and creative, allowing children to collaborate and play with each other as well as their parents. Screens can be something they play with, as a tool, for open-ended play, for watching TV, and more.

Find a balance

Too much of anything is unhealthy. Reading books is great, but if your nose is always stuck in a book and you never step outside, there's an imbalance there. By doing anything to excess, kids are missing out on other valuable experiences, and as parents, it's our job to help them find a balance.

Used in the right way, technology can be a powerful tool for play and development. Equally, the right app on a tablet is one of the very few toys in a child's surrounding that comes with little direction and grown-up rules.

Watch out for in-app purchases

In-app purchases, which form the basis of 'freemium' apps, can be an unexpected financial headache when children unknowingly rack up huge bills. Trying to sell to kids through play is something to watch out for.

Choose an app your child actually likes

Better still, let them choose it with you! We make sure that all of our apps are tested by children in the development process, and that we listen: children aren't just small adults, and what appeals to them might not appeal to you as a grown up.

Björn Jeffery is CEO and co-founder of Toca Boca. Toca Boca's latest app, Toca Life: City, is available on the App Store now (£2.49/€2.99).

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