Balancing screen time with small children: Consider content, not time experts say

Jul 26, 2023, 5:40 PM | Updated: 5:55 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to letting your young children use iPads, computers, or your phone, how much technology is too much?  

It’s not about time limits, it’s about the content, said Annie Frazier, Education Program Manager for PBS Utah.

“Find content that is developed by people who know how a young child’s brain works,” Frazier said. 

She urged parents to look for apps and games created and screened by educators. When using the apps, Frazier suggested interacting with your child to enhance the learning process.

“Asking questions like, ‘What should we do next?’, ‘What did you do that made that work?’, ‘What would you do if you did this level again?’” Frazier said. “The screen and the game are really the tool, but the caregivers should still be the teacher.” 

When playing games on screens, make it a family event by playing together and making sure you are nearby.

“You can be close together, you can give a thumbs up, a high five. make it just like you would if you were playing Chutes and Ladders,” Frazier said.

She warned against screen restrictions and regulations, saying they can break down the lines of communication. 

“Having the children help come up with the guidelines, have children brainstorm alternative activities that are free and outside, so there could be balance throughout the day,” Frazier said.

Mother of four Meghan Ballard agreed that balance is key. She has seen the benefits of letting her three-year-old play games on the iPad that focus on sight words.

“It is amazing to see her pick up the alphabet playing this game,” she said. “I definitely think kids are learning differently [with technology], and I think there are positives and negatives.”

If parents are wondering which apps and games have been screened by experts, Frazier suggested checking out commonsensemedia.org or pbskids.org.

For more ideas, head over to 5B45kids.org.

KSL 5 TV Live


Elsie and Evelyn Wong...

Ashley Moser

Kindergarten teacher gives tips on preparing your little one starting school in the fall

With summer just around the corner, parents may be wondering what activities they can do with their little ones to gear up for kindergarten in the fall.

5 months ago

Alexis McComb reads with her daughter...

Ashley Moser

Everyday tips to make reading fun and engaging for young children

Reading is essential for a child's development, but it can be a struggle to get them to engage with books. 

7 months ago

Ella Stoddard packs gift bags for children...

Ashley Moser

5B45: Teaching children empathy through regular service projects

When the Stoddard family learned about the nearly 14,000 students in Salt Lake City schools who don’t know where their next meal will come from, they knew they needed to help.

8 months ago

Noah and Riley Fullmer with their mother, Barb Fullmer, while they create their Gratitude Tree. (KS...

Ashley Moser

‘Gratitude Tree’ helps toddlers express love while learning how to write

Utah family uses a creative activity to help young children practice reading and writing, while learning about love and gratitude.

11 months ago

FILE: Kathy Dalton takes time to teach her kids about nature while they explore the outdoors. (Sour...

Ashley Moser

Nature can help your little ones learn how to count

Preschool directors for the Stokes Nature Center say one of the best and easiest ways to teach your little ones how to count is by going on a walk.

1 year ago

Back to school brings changes in routines which can be hard for them to navigate. In this 5B45 repo...

Ashley Moser

Help your child ease into new routines by communicating what’s to come

We all know change can be difficult, but it can be especially challenging for our little ones. Back to school brings changes in routines which can be hard for them to navigate. In this 5B45 report, a childhood development expert offers some advice.

1 year ago

Sponsored Articles

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

rodeo contestant on a saddle bronc...


Get Ready for the Days of ‘47 Rodeo!

The Days of '47 Rodeo is a series of events everyone in the family can enjoy, with world-class rodeo contestants vying for the gold medal.

Electric LED Lightbulb Change In Light At Home...

Lighting Design

How to Know When to Upgrade Your Lighting

This guide explores indicators that suggest it’s time for a lighting upgrade with tips to make an informed decision when you’re ready to buy. 

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Balancing screen time with small children: Consider content, not time experts say