TODAY

TODAY   |  December 11, 2013

Teach your kids to take a tech timeout

As a new study released shows that kids are spending the right amount of time on their devices,  pediatrician Tanya Altmann and digital lifestyle expert Mario Armstrong provides some methods for helping your children disconnect from the digital world for a while.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> smartphone or tablet for christmas you may want to think about how to limit their screen time.

>> it's also what they're watching as well. mario armstrong is a digital life style expert and today contributor. good morning guys.

>> good morning.

>> two third of children report that their families had no rules when it comes to their digital devices. is that shocking to you?

>> absolutely ridiculous to me. it doesn't surprise me, though, because this is happening so quick and our generation and those that are parents now didn't grow one the technology that's in front of their kids so it's a hard understanding of how to parent it but parents are being a little lazy here with taking that more seriously.

>> and we're modeling that behavior.

>> i recommend that all families come up with a media use plan. you all want to sit down together as a family and come up with a list of rules that you can all agree on. they can be things like what's going to happen to the devices at night. they'll be in a separate location. you'll have electronic free zones and you'll have limits on screen time.

>> so mario, the average 8 to 10-year-old, this is incredible statistics spends nearly 8 hours a day using media. we hear about using it for educational purposes. i have young children. that's true. they use it to do homework and other things. how do you focus on the stuff you want out of a digital device and not the stuff you don't want.

>> this is a great question. a lot of people are talk about how much screen time are our kids using. we need to define is that educational screen time or limitless screen time. i don't think it's a bad thing if my kid wants to use their tablet for education. but i think parents should be more savvy about how to use these devices. for example, the amazon kindle fire, on this device you can share this with multiple kids. they can have settings for different parental controls and a lot of parents don't dig into how they can block out the inappropriate content so they can make sure they are focussing on educational things and not just recreational.

>> it's about monitoring the media.

>> they're going to be exposed to it.

>> but start young and role model good behavior in your house so they see you put down your phone when you come in the door to talk and be present for your kids and you have a limit on what you're doing. when you learn about the games they want to play they're more willing to be open and talk to you about it. indiana sta say why don't you clear those three levels and come to the table.

>> the one that kills me is we're going to go on vacation and you see the parents on their phones and tablets on vacation. what signal are you sending your kids.

>> same thing at the restaurant. why bother having a conversation when everybody is on their devices.

>> would you agree if you're on a long flight or restaurant, if it keeps the peace is it okay?

>> how long you have rules and guidelines. then it's fine. i definitely take my ipad and my iphone and they have rules about which games they can and cannot play and we take breaks periodically. it bothers me when i walk into the exam room and i see a teen or tween and they haven't been taught to look up and say good morning to an adult.

>> eye contact. it's on my son's wish list which he is not getting. what's the appropriate age?

>> you have to know your child. the maturity level and the situation they're in. are they going to school late at night? are they getting on the bus? is it a safety precaution?

>> for me, my kid is 11 years old. he has a phone when he he goes for sleep overs or i feel he's in a situation where he may need to reach us. they're prepaid plans. a lot of cheap ways to get technology for your kids.

>> these are questions a lot of parents are grappling with. thank you so much. if you have a question about kids and digital media , they're sticking around to answer your questions on twitter. use the #orangeroom to get connected.