Dr. Jenkins suggests first taking a look at how much time your child is spending online and what they’re doing. After all, spending time online doing schoolwork will have different effects than if your child is playing video games or scrolling through social media feeds. She believes more than two hours online is too much.
Dr. Jenkins also advises parents to look at a child’s resistance to being away from the internet. “Children who resist getting off screens, sacrifice meals, sleep, and social interaction to spend time online, are certainly exhibiting signs that the amount is excessive,” she says. While some children might find it easy to put down their phones or log off their computers, others will find it more difficult.
“Unfortunately, children who are already struggling with mental health or behavioral issues may have the most difficulty managing their time online,” Jenkins says. “Irritability, a sole focus on online activities to the detriment of other activities, and disrupted sleep patterns can all be indicators of excessive screen time.”