Three things to make screen time safe

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. One of the most dangerous toys that could be underneath your tree doesn’t have small parts or sharp edges. It has a screen.
If you’re giving your child a smartphone or tablet for Christmas this year, you’ll probably want to ‘kid-proof’ it first.
We spoke with tech experts to find out how you can keep your kids safe.
The experts say tablets and phones are really just small computers. With full access to the internet, they can be just as dangerous as they are entertaining.
“They can come across stuff that you don’t want your child to see. So I think it’s worth it to be able to monitor it,” said Jason Mohler, a partner at Wireless Trendz
Tip number one is change the settings and change the restrictions. The device settings allow you to keep young kids off the internet, and keep them from downloading apps they shouldn’t.
Mohler says one of the most popular children’s apps, YouTube, has settings of its own.
“You can go in and filter what they’re seeing, you can put it on a ‘strict’ mode,” he explained.
Tip number two is monitor your child’s activity.
“See what they’re looking, see what they’re doing. These tablets these days… iPads, Android tablets, Amazon Fire tablets can do a plethora of things,” said Trevor Hermanson, an Advanced Repair Agent for Geek Squad.
The experts say you can you can go through the device yourself, or pay for parental control software.
“There’s apps that allow you to hide apps. And hide pictures or text messages. So it’s probably really good to have some sort of monitoring software on it. And that’ll allow you to see if any of that is being done.”
The experts we spoke with recommend the Norton or the TeenSafe software, but those will cost you. There are also free apps that allow you to manage your child’s screen time.
The final and possibly most important step is simply speaking with your kids about what they’re allowed to do on their new device.
“Kind of walk through the device. Let them know there are dangers out there, with certain things,” said Mohler.
If you're worried about your child's eyesight going bad because of too much screen time, experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics say parents should limit children from two to five-years-old to one hour of screen time a day, and parents should set limits for children six and up.