Is it a good idea for parents to try to get in on the game – or is that sacred ground?

Dr. Paul Weigle  likes the idea.

“As parents. the best approach that we can take toward helping our kids develop healthy media experience habits is to be more than a guide and less than a cop,”  says Dr, Weigle, associate medical director of ambulatory services at Natchaug Hospital, part of Hartford HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Network. “One way to do that is to meet them where they’re at and play the games with them.”

This can be a great opportunity for kids to teach their parents for a change, according to Dr. Weigle.

“It’s a bit of a role reversal,” he says. “All the sudden you’re in their world. It can be a healthy role reversal where they’re advising us. It’s also a chance to understand what’s important to them – and we can use that experience to talk about the game or values that are important to us.”

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What screen supervision choices do parents have?

Dr. Weigle stresses that younger children really need supervision.

“The younger they are,” he says, “the more important it is to be on larger screens, in public areas of the home. Avoid use in bedrooms, bathrooms and behind closed doors. When a child first gets an iPhone or iPad, there are excellent controls that parents can learn about that restrict what’s available.

“It’s my opinion that kids should start out with many of those restrictions in place. There are settings that will turn the device off after a set time and that can be easier on the parent, rather than having to physically remove the device from a child.”

In this podcast episode, Dr. Weigle also discusses:

  • Problematic play.
  • Physical and emotional risks of excessive screen time or gaming.
  • Professional help and support for children and adults who are struggling.

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