Children’s screen time or the amount of time spent in front of an electronic screen has risen in the past decade. According to a survey made by the Kaiser Family Foundation, today’s young generation ages 8-18 is spending an average of 7.5 hours of time using entertainment media such as computers, TVs, cellphones, or game consoles.

The effects and recommended time spent with electronic media is debatable. Abuse of screen time causes inactivity, poor language skills and is linked to obesity and violence. On the other hand, technological advantage and a wealth of knowledge can be obtained from them. If you feel that your child’s electronic media consumption is unhealthy, try to balance it out using these tips:

1. Guide, not deprive. Almost every kid now has his own computer or cellphone. Those are important learning and communication tools. However, just like in the streets, your child must be protected from bad elements while using the internet or watching TV. Teach your child to surf the internet wisely. You may want to install an internet content filtering program to ensure safe web whereabouts for your child.

Help them keep their interest in knowledge while maintaining some control over their media consumption. If your child wants to watch TV, let him, but let him stick to age-appropriate programs. Enroll in a family plan for your household’s cellphones so you can give your child “allowance” minutes, instead of giving him an adult rate plan.

2. Keep them out. The devices, not the kids. Don’t put the computer or television inside your child’s room. This way, you can supervise their usage and hover behind them from time to time. This will also limit the time your child spends using them after their bedtime. Set a “charging station” in your family room so they can put down their cellphones and PSPs while they are charging, allowing them time to do other things.

Put your remote control in a high shelf, where your child will have a hard time reaching it. Chances are, he will be discouraged to get it and just find something else to do. Keep out entertainment alternatives within easy reach, like game boards, puzzles or bikes.

3. Convert to quality time. You don’t have to play softball to have quality time. Watch TV with your child, and discuss complicated situations with him during commercials or during dinner when the TV is turned off. Forget about the in-car DVD player. Let your children play car games or leave them to their imaginations when traveling.

Invest in a family game like Wii sports- that way your child will have physical play and quality time with you while having his videogame dose. Use the internet to communicate with your kid. Send him texts, emails and instant messages from time to time. Create your own social networking account and add him up.

Use of entertainment media is helpful if only done in moderation. Responsible parenting is important to keep children from abusing their use. Be a good role model and exercise consistency in setting limits.