Getting your kids away from screens and outside


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s summer: The weather is beautiful and the kids aren’t cooped up in school — but they may be spending more time than parents want indoors with their faces glued to screens.

“It’s the age of the digital home, so you have so many devices hooked to Wi-Fi. You’ve got multiple smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, now even coffee makers and refrigerators,” Comcast spokesman Rob Ponto said.

Sound familiar? With so many devices and so much extra time on their hands, it’s not hard for kids to get sucked in by screen time.

“I have an iPod Touch and I have a Kindle,” 11-year-old Grace said.

But there are ways to limit how much time your kids spending using their electronic devices.

Ponto showed 24 Hour News 8 the new parental controls that Comcast hopes will allow parents to take control of their digital household. A favorite of his is something he likes to call the “digital dinner bell.”

“When it’s time for dinner and you make that first call out to the kids and no one shows up, you hit “pause all devices” on xFi and that will pause all of the Wi-Fi signals to every device in the home and that way kids come running when it’s time to eat,” he explained.

With no devices and no distractions, family time wins.

You could also use that function to urge your kids to get off the couch.

“I’d be like, ‘Come on!’ And then I’d probably go outside,” 12-year-old Evan said.

With the Comcast system, every family member has their own profile so the adult in charge can keep tabs on Wi-Fi usage.

“You can toggle between when you want it to go off and when you want it to go on,” Ponto said.

A sleep time function allows parents to set times for lights out.

“You always know that when you’re asleep, your kids are asleep getting a lot of rest and not on their devices,” Ponto said.