For parents that don’t have a child with special needs, whether it’s autism or Asperger’s, there can be a lack of empathy. This is especially true when it comes to the idea of negotiating boundaries. For any child on the spectrum, it’s never a case of black or white when it comes to a type of boundary or rule. And for those parents out there that have concerns with regards to the amount of screen time their autistic child is having, the temptation can be to let them have as much screen time as possible. However, this doesn’t benefit them, nor does it benefit you, as you are, essentially, making a rod for your own back, causing further problems down the line. So, what are the concerns for every parent in this respect, and what can you do to help make life easier for everybody?
Limit Screen Time
Luckily now, as there are concerns about any child spending too much time in front of a computer, there are tools you can purchase or download to stop the internet after a certain amount of time, but this can cause anxiety in any child with autism. So, if your child spends a lot of time in front of the computer, for example, four hours at a time, working to slowly reduce the amount of screen time, minute by minute, will help over time.
Use The Computer For Positive Activities
Using a computer is great for social activities, but not so much for gaming. There has been research into the positives of gaming, but if your child is adamant they’re going to spend hours in front of the screen, then make sure it’s for more productive reasons. Games that can benefit their minds, such as puzzle games, but also certain social tools that will help them feel better and more included, will reduce the anxieties in them.
Naturally, we can’t control the gods of electricity, and if something happens, and the computer gets switched off, this could cause a lot of anxiety in them, but this moment is the perfect opportunity to introduce distraction methods. As your child’s parent, you will have an abundance of tools at your disposal to help. If your child is addicted to the computer, and their Mac doesn’t recognize external drive or the black screen of death comes up, this can result in panic stations for your child. At this point, guiding them towards something else that is just as productive, whether it’s a board game or actually going out to play, will help.
For any parent out there, the concern of their child having too much time in front of the screen is all too real. You have worried that they will be more antisocial by spending time in front of their screen, but this is something that we all feel now. But it’s also important to remember that a little bit of screen time is beneficial. But if it’s at the point where they spend in excess of four hours in front of the screen, it’s now time to start addressing this so your child can be more sociable, and you can have a more fruitful relationship with them instead of an anxious one.