Why Parents Should Limit Internet Time After School

Aug 14, 2017

With the rise in tech devices, social media, and online activities, the way kids are spending their time after school has drastically changed. Society as a whole is navigating the new landscape of children’s free time in a high-tech world, and parents are often left wondering: What is the best way to let my kids use and learn from technology, while also keeping them safe?

Many parents main concern is the content being consumed.

The internet is home to countless pornography sites, inappropriate videos and images, dating websites and apps, social media platforms, and communication portals where children and teens can be exposed to harmful content as well as potential online predators.

Using parental control software, parents can block websites that kids can visit, which makes for a great way to keep them safe, but another tactic is simply limiting kids’ internet time after school.

Why Limit Internet Time?

While the internet has completely changed the way we communicate, learn, and function in our daily lives, there are some setbacks to its constant use, especially for kids and teens. It cuts into other important daily activities like spending time with family and friends, in-person social interaction, homework, study time, and physical activity.

While the internet is an incredible tool, spending too much time online, or in front of screens, and not enough time being active can lead to:

  • Childhood obesity
  • Psychological problems
  • Troubles in school
  • Attention problems
  • Eating and sleeping disorders
  • Internet addiction
Internet addiction has become a big concern for many parents. In an attempt to curb tech addiction, some of the most successful tech industry professionals have surprisingly strict internet rules and restrictions, including Apple founder, Steve Jobs.

According to an article in the NY Times, Jobs was considered a “low tech parent”. Another tech pro, Alex Constantinople, OutCast Agency’s chief executive, doesn’t allow her children to use tech devices and gadgets at all during the week and her older pre- teen children are only allowed 30 minutes of tech time a day.

By limiting the time a child or teen can be online after school, parents are making it more feasible for kids to take on other activities like sports, playing outside, spending time with friends, or quality time with family. One tip to help kids accept the limited internet time is to give them an alternative.

Rather than simply placing restrictions on using tech devices, have a family dinner or game night planned, or a sports event for them to take part in. This helps alleviate the loss of their internet time, by giving them a fun alternate activity to do instead.

Setting time limits also makes it easier for parents to monitor their kid’s online activities and helps them avoid inappropriate content or potentially dangerous situations online. When they only have an allotted time to use the internet, they are less likely to peruse random websites or get involved in cyberbullying because they have to use their time wisely.

Block Websites and Internet Access When Kids are Alone

Setting restrictions on internet use at certain times is a great way to protect your kids from potentially harmful online activities. Kids and teens are less likely to participate in unhealthy online behavior when someone else is present. A good time to restrict or limit internet time is after bedtime or while parents/guardians are out of the house.

Parental control software, like Net Nanny, offers internet time management features that help parents control just how much time their children are spending online, even while the parents are away. These products allow parents to block websites that are harmful and set specific times of day a child can access the internet. Any changes to the schedule are restricted to the parent only.

Tips to Limiting Screen and Internet Time

Putting restrictions or limitations on kids’ online time and activities can be difficult, especially since many parents aren’t as tech and social media savvy as their teens.

Here are a few tips to setting healthy and effective limitations:

  1. Teach children that using the internet for entertainment is a privilege that is earned after other responsibilities (i.e. homework, chores, studying, or sports/instrument practices) are finished.

  2. Plan family or friend activities that do not include the internet or watching TV.

  3. Keep all laptops, cellphones, and computers, in a public place where kids can use them in the presence of their family.

  4. Lead by example. Practice healthy tech and internet use as a parent so your kids have a strong role model. Detach from your phone while spending time with them and don’t let your devices become a distraction from home life.
The internet is a powerful tool that helps us all learn and grow. It’s a big part of everyday life, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be restrictions. Setting time and place limitations on internet use is a great way to help keep your kids active, social, and safe in the digital age.