Two new digital tools launched to help create healthy online habits for kids

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Feedback from families shows the two-hour screen time limit recommended for kids does not work and UW Health Kids and the American Academy of Pediatrics created two new digital tools to help create healthy online habits.

According to Dr. Megan Moreno, adolescent health expert, UW Health Kids, professor of pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, the time for these tools to be updated for families is important because the pandemic created more concerns about screen time for kids.

“We understand kids used their devices to stay in touch with friends and attend school virtually during the pandemic,” she said. “Now we need to find a new balance between the online and offline worlds.”

The first digital tool, the Family Media Plan was first introduced in 2106, but it was recently redesigned after a study found that many families who used it had forgotten the rules they’d put in their plans, or only reinforced some of the rules.

“We now suggest that families pick a few rules and get familiar with them before adding more and update the plan as your kids get older,” Moreno said.

The other online aid is the first phone questionnaire. Designed for families debating on getting their child a cell phone, it is a ten question quiz that helps parents assess if the child is ready for those responsibilities.

Moreno said there is no right age that will be perfect for every single family, so the quiz instead makes sure to focus on how the kids handle responsibility and how they intend to use the phone.

Both of these are completely free to use, and UW Health Kids hope it encourages more safe and responsible internet and technology use for families.

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