Do I give my child a smartphone? And eight other parenting questions about screen use

Children ages 0 to 6 spend an average of more than an hour and a half a day behind a screen, and their peers ages 7 to 12 spend an average of three hours a day with media. How do you handle it as a parent? In the Parenting section, where Annemiek Leclaire asks questions from readers to experts, many questions were about this screen use by children. In this article, we list nine episodes on this topic.

1 What if a child is allowed to be on a screen at a friend’s house for a much longer time?

At home, a mother has clear agreements with her 7-year-old son about when and for how long he can use his tablet. But with friends he still gets a screen in front of his nose. Can she do anything about it? You can’t always control what children do in other people’s homes. It is the beginning of the great letting go, says professor of media education Peter Nikken.

It can be helpful to talk to other parents about what children are up to online. In this section of Uddannet you can read how do you start that conversation.

2 How to protect a 12-year-old online?

Through online games and social media, children have contact with classmates, friends from afar and sometimes even strangers. Does the digital contact displace the ‘real’ meeting? And how do you protect your child from the dangers of the internet world?

In this episode of Educated, the father of a 12-year-old is advised to let his child experience online for himself and encourage vigilance in open conversation.

3 At what age can a child have a smartphone?

Actually, the mother of a 9-year-old doesn’t want it yet, but all her classmates have a smartphone and she doesn’t want her daughter to be left out. How do you know if the time has come and how do you ensure that your child is safe with such a smartphone? Learned young is finished old, says media education professor Peter Nikken.


In this article you can read how you can practice together and build a child’s media literacy.

4 How do you monitor children’s use of social media?

Children see things on social media that are beyond the reach of parents, and not all children are open about what they do online. A father wonders if he should monitor what his daughters, ages 8 and 13, are doing on social platforms. According to the experts consulted, you don’t need to supervise a child, but it is important to inform them about the dangers and ugly sides of the Internet.

Watch from a young age, show interest in what kids are doing online and others tips from experts for teaching children media literacy.

5 Can a toddler have their own YouTube channel?

Research shows that one in three children and young people want a career as a YouTuber. In the end, this is only possible for few and negative reactions, and the lack of likes can cause disappointment. At the same time, inventing and making videos is good for creativity. A reader’s 8-year-old daughter likes this career path. Can he allow her to start her own YouTube channel?


Say yes to a YouTube channelthen there are a number of questions that you should discuss together, says a professor of Media, Youth & Society in this Educated episode.

6 Is watching a lot of Netflix harmful?

A mother of three teenagers who binge-watch shows she loves worries: Is it bad for her daughters to binge-watch Netflix? Professor of media education Peter Nikken points out the positive side of ‘serial viewing’: teenagers form their own tastes through these kinds of stories and see their feelings reflected. His advice is not to be too limited.


Educational philosopher Stijn Sieckelinck otherwise believes: “Popular digital media are not harmless, they are deliberately designed in such a way that you can’t just put them down.”

7 What to do with a daughter who posts sexy selfies?

Bikini on, full of make-up and kneeling in the surf; a mother would rather not have her daughter show herself online like this. Is she right to worry about this? Being sexy is part of teenage culture, says Patti Valkenburg, professor of media, youth and society. According to Valkenburg, what the reader’s daughter is doing is normal teenage behavior.

If pictures are too sexy or if something nasty happens, don’t judge. What to keep in mind according to experts? The border with sexting.

8 Can you take a teenager’s cell phone as punishment?

Taking her 16-year-old daughter’s cell phone if she doesn’t follow the rules seems like a good idea to a reader. After all, she will feel the pain. Is taking a smartphone a good punishment? Experts agree: A punishment works best when it fits the crime.

You will only have a real effect if you explain why it is important that the young person complies with the rules. Here’s how to handle it.

9 How to get children away from the screen?

The father of two sons doesn’t know how to reduce his children’s screen time. After all, they are not only games, but also finding things on the Internet. Should he distinguish between ‘game time’ and ‘education time’ online?

Experts advise making clear agreements and using maximum screen time. And the LEGO box can give children a push in a different direction.

Want to present a parenting dilemma?

For the parenting section, we collect questions from readers about parenting. We present these to experts who provide advice.

This section is anonymous because difficulties in upbringing can be sensitive. When you post a question, you will always receive an answer from the author of the Educated section.

Annemiek Leclaire

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