Gaming expert reveals practical ways to bridge the gap between offline and digital worlds

Whether we like it or not, digital devices are a part of our children’s lives at school and home. Screen time isn’t inherently bad, but too much time on screens can create a disconnect from reality for your kids and even lead to disruptive behaviour disorders. But with the addictive nature of online gaming and the internet, how do you convince your kid to switch off the screens?

Marin Cristian-Ovidiu, CEO of, gives his five top tips to help you find a balance between the real world and the digital one for your children.

1.   Set The Example

Setting boundaries around screen time for your kids becomes much easier when you lead by example. If you find yourself glued to your phone frequently, explain to your children why you’re using it, whether it’s for work emails or contacting family members. Being honest with them builds trust and understanding. Plus, it helps you avoid mindlessly scrolling or gaming yourself.

Consider establishing device-free periods for the whole family, like during meals or before bedtime. ‘You could even create a ritual of placing all devices in a designated box to signify the start of these screen-free times,’ advises Marin. ‘This not only sets a positive example for your children but also encourages healthier habits for the entire family.’

2.   Use Screens Together

It’s time to grab an extra controller and join the fun! By actively participating in screen activities with your child, you transform the experience from just your child and the device to an interactive bonding time with both of you.

Whether it’s playing two-player games or engaging in multiplayer sessions with multiple kids, there are plenty of options. Or, consider picking a show that the whole family can enjoy together, or scroll through TikTok as a group, sharing laughs over your favourite videos.

‘Screens can serve as a means to bring you closer together,’ notes Marin, ‘fostering shared experiences and strengthening your connection as a family, rather than just providing solitary entertainment for your child.’

3.   Enforce Breaks

Establishing clear agreements about screen time limits is crucial for the whole family. Decide together on the total amount of screen time allowed per day or week and how long each session should be. Utilise screen time tracking apps or set timers on devices to help enforce these limits effectively.

Then, set clear expectations of what break time is for. ‘Digital breaks shouldn’t just be for homework and chores; this makes non-screen time feel like a punishment for kids,’ says Marin. ‘Instead, have them take breaks for outside play, reading, board games, or other hobbies they enjoy.’

Taking breaks from screens isn’t just beneficial for their brains but also for their eyes.

‘A great tip for kids and adults alike is the 20-20-20 eye rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something at least 20 feet away,’ says Marin.  ‘This simple practice helps reduce eye strain caused by prolonged screen use and gives their eyes a much-needed rest from the harsh light emitted by screens.’

4.   Get To Know The Content They’re Consuming

Parents need to understand the digital content their children are consuming, even with parental controls in place. One way to do this is by actively engaging with the content alongside your kids. Ask to play games with them or watch their favourite videos together. By sharing their interests and hobbies online, you’ll find it easier to connect with them beyond the digital world.

‘Many kids – teenagers especially – may feel like their parents won’t understand the trends, humour, games, or culture on their devices,’ notes Marin. ‘However, by taking the time to engage with their online world, you’ll gain a better understanding of your child and strengthen your relationship with them.’

5.   Encourage Other Hobbies

Now that you better understand your children’s interests, encourage them to explore hobbies that don’t solely rely on screens. Provide them with the time and space to discover activities they might enjoy outside of digital devices.

For instance, if your child is drawn to fantasy gaming, consider introducing them to hobbies like archery or fencing, or look for local fantasy book groups tailored for kids or teens. If they spend a lot of time on TikTok, they may be interested in learning to play a musical instrument, exploring video production, or learning to dance.

Remember, not all hobbies need to be completely screen-free. For example, if your child expresses interest in making short films for platforms like YouTube, that can be a creative and rewarding pursuit.

‘The key is encouraging activities that allow them to express themselves and create, rather than solely consuming content,’ says Marin. ‘By engaging in hobbies that involve creation and expression, your child can develop a deeper connection with reality while still utilising digital devices in a productive and meaningful way.’