Navigating Screen Time with “Watch with Joy”

As digital technology becomes increasingly embedded in our lives, understanding its impact on the youngest members of our society is more important than ever. We present new work which offers a novel approach to managing children’s screen time.

The Challenge of Screen Time for Children

Our research acknowledges the growing concern around excessive screen time among children. While digital devices offer educational and entertaining experiences, they can also lead to health and social development issues in children, such as attention deficits and sleep disturbances. The key challenge is to balance digital media consumption with other vital, non-screen activities.

Introducing “Watch with Joy”

To address this challenge, we developed “Watch with Joy” – a child-friendly video player app that suggests real-world activities based on the content viewed. This app aims to smoothly transition children from screen time to engaging, non-screen activities. Our four-week qualitative study with families showed that incorporating alternative activities can ease this transition, shifting focus away from the screen and reducing potential negative emotions associated with screen time ending.

Key Findings and Insights

  1. Ease of Transition: The app was effective in making the end of screen time less abrupt and more acceptable to children, thereby reducing conflicts over screen time limits.
  2. Parental Involvement: Parents play a crucial role in the success of such technology-based approaches. Active parental involvement and customization based on individual family needs were key.
  3. Children’s Engagement: Children showed an increased willingness to engage in suggested non-screen activities, demonstrating the app’s potential in promoting balanced media consumption.

Looking Ahead

We aim to refine and expand our approach, exploring how technology can further support healthy media habits among children. This research underscores the significant role of parental guidance and the potential of technology in creating healthier media consumption patterns.

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