What are some clear boundaries and rules parents can set regarding their child’s media consumption?

What are some clear boundaries and rules parents can set regarding their child’s media consumption?

When setting boundaries and rules for your child’s media consumption in Australia, it’s important to consider their age, developmental stage, and individual needs. While the general principles for setting boundaries are similar worldwide, there are specific guidelines and resources available in Australia. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Utilise classification systems: Australia has its own classification systems for media content, including video games. The Australian Classification Board rates films, TV shows, and games to help parents make informed decisions about suitability for different age groups. Familiarise yourself with the classifications and use them as a guide when determining appropriate content for your child.
  2. Age-appropriate guidelines: The Australian Government’s eSafety Commissioner provides resources and recommendations for age-appropriate online activities, including media consumption. They offer guidelines based on developmental stages to help parents make informed decisions about suitable media content and online experiences for their children.
  3. Online safety and privacy: Teach your child about online safety, privacy, and responsible online behaviour. Discuss topics such as the importance of protecting personal information, using strong passwords, and being cautious when interacting with others online. The eSafety Commissioner’s website (www.esafety.gov.au) offers resources and advice for online safety in Australia.
  4. Screen time limits: Set limits on the amount of time your child spends on media consumption, including video games. The Australian Government’s Department of Health provides guidelines on screen time recommendations for different age groups. Consider these guidelines when establishing screen time limits for your child.
  5. Balance with physical activity: Encourage a balance between sedentary media activities and physical activity. The Australian Government’s Department of Health recommends at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity for children and adolescents each day. Establish rules that promote regular exercise and outdoor play alongside media consumption.
  6. Create media-free zones and times: Designate specific areas in your home, such as bedrooms or mealtimes, as media-free zones. Establish times during the day, such as before bedtime, where media use is not allowed. Encourage family activities and communication during these designated media-free periods.
  7. Use parental control features: Take advantage of parental control features available on devices, gaming consoles, and internet routers to monitor and limit your child’s access to inappropriate content. These features can assist you in managing your child’s media consumption and online experiences.
  8. Open communication and guidance: Maintain open and ongoing communication with your child about their media consumption. Talk to them about responsible media use, digital citizenship, and ethical online behavior. Be available to answer their questions, address concerns, and guide them in making responsible choices.

Remember that these boundaries and rules should be age-appropriate, flexible, and adaptable to your child’s individual needs. It’s important to regularly review and revise these boundaries as your child grows and their media habits evolve. Additionally, staying informed about online safety resources, guidelines, and educational campaigns in Australia can help you make informed decisions and provide the necessary guidance for your child’s media consumption.


“For screen time, the guidelines recommend:
  • no screen time for children younger than two years.
  • no more than one hour per day for children aged 2–5 years.
  • no more than two hours of sedentary recreational screen time per day for children and young people aged 5–17 years (not including schoolwork)”.

Source: https://aifs.gov.au/resources/short-articles/too-much-time-screens