The Subliminal Impact of Screen Time on Kids
Children today have grown up with an abundance of electronic devices at their disposal. They are unable to envisage a world without smartphones, tablets, or access to the internet.
Because of technological advancements, today’s parents are the first generation to have to figure out how to limit their children’s screen time. While digital gadgets can give hours of enjoyment and instructive content, having too much screen time can be harmful.
Parents should set appropriate restrictions on their children’s access to entertainment media. Despite these suggestions, children aged 8 to 18 spend an average of 7 hours per day consuming digital content.
But it’s not just children who spend too much time in front of the screen.
Many parents also struggle to set good boundaries for themselves.
Did you know that the average adult spends more than 11 hours every day in front of a screen?
This is why it’s important to comprehend the negative effects of screen time on child development and parenthood.
The Negative Effects of Screen Time on Child Development
Too much screen time can be bad in various ways, whether you keep the TV on all the time or the entire family sits about staring at their phones. Some of the most prominent too much screen time symptoms are:
Emotional, social, and attention issues are more common among elementary school-aged children who watch TV or use a computer for more than 2 hours each day.
Children in elementary school who have televisions in their rooms perform lower on academic tests.
Spending too much time doing sedentary activities like watching TV or playing video games can increase your chances of becoming overweight.
Although many parents use television to unwind before going to bed, too much screen time before bed might be harmful. The light emitted by screens disrupts the brain’s sleep cycle, which can contribute to insomnia.
Children can grow desensitized to violence through exposure to violent TV shows, movies, music, and video games. They may eventually resort to violence to solve problems or emulate what they watch on television.
The Harmful Effect of Screen Time on Family Relationships
The majority of discussions regarding the dangers of screen time centre on children. However, it’s important to remember that adults can suffer from many of the same negative consequences as children, such as obesity and sleep issues.
Even if you aren’t having any physical concerns as a result of your digital device use, there’s a strong probability that it is affecting your relationship with your child.
When parents are engrossed in their phones at meals or when playing together, children may feel unimportant. Even responding to a fast text message sends a message to your child: your phone is more important than they are.
How Much Screen Time is Too Much for a Child?
So, if screen time negatively impacts children so much, exactly how much screen time is too much? How should parents create boundaries for their children now that technological devices are so embedded in our culture?
The following guidelines are commonly recommended by paediatricians:
- Under the age of two: Except for video calls with family or friends, no screen time
- Ages 2 to 5 years: Co-viewing with a parent or sibling for one hour per day
- Ages 5 to 17: Except for homework, no more than two hours every day
It is suggested that parents create a family media use plan to support their efforts. This is a fantastic parenting tool that can assist parents in guiding what kind of screen time for kids are appropriate, as well as when and where they can enjoy it.
Parents can also take the following preventive measures:
- Screen-free bedrooms: There should be no screens in the bedroom, and children should not watch television for at least two hours before going to bed. The reason behind this is that the blue light from a screen can make it difficult for the brain to recognize when it’s time to sleep. Instead of watching TV before night, kids should do something else, like reading.
- Fill in the blanks: Don’t allow your child to decide what to do with their free time if you need to limit their screen use. Change it to something more pleasant, like outdoor sports or other hobbies.
Measures to Take to Limit Your Child’s Screen Time
Let’s establish some ground rules for reducing screen time. Set aside time for your entire family to disconnect from the phone, television, and computer. When everyone agrees to lay down their phones, it allows your family to spend valuable time together.
Filtering or blocking undesired content is possible with the right tools. You can even establish daily screen time limitations for your children, which will lock them out of apps when a certain amount of time has passed.
It’s all too easy for kids these days to be dependent on devices as a source of entertainment. Instead, encourage children to engage in non-screen activities such as playing outside, reading a book, or playing a board game. Electronic devices should not be allowed in your bedroom.
Positive Effects of Screen Time on Child Development
Screen time for kids can have several negative effects on children, however, there are also many positive effects of screen time on child development. Some of the most prominent ones are:
Support Family Interactions
When in-person interactions are not possible, video chat (Skype, Facetime, etc.) allows family members to connect with one another. Even children under the age of 18 months can use such video platforms to communicate with family members alongside their parents.
Technology can also spark interesting conversation topics and encourage family members to spend time together. Parents can engage in vital responsive communications that are essential to their child’s healthy development through conversation and family time.
Healthy Development Via Co-Viewing
When co-viewing or co-playing with an engaged adult, children as young as 18 months may be able to learn from digital media (although additional research is necessary to support this recommendation).
It’s important that parents respond to and ask questions about the material they’re watching with their children, point out key concepts, and incorporate the content they’re watching into their daily lives and routines.
Parents can develop a system to support their children’s learning from digital material by taking these steps. Even before their child turns two, parents can boost their child’s cognitive, linguistic, and social-emotional development through discourse and interactions.
Traditional forms of family support for school preparedness include book readings and newer technology such as e-books. Parents can help their children develop the skills they need for school by engaging in dialogic reading with them—asking them questions about the stories and linking the content to the child’s life—whether the narrative is in print or digital media. Parents can also teach them about Extracurricular Activities in School Life.
According to research, preschoolers learn best from well-designed e-books with few distracting elements (such as games and sounds) and when parents’ inquiries focus on the narrative rather than the electronic medium’s characteristics (such as pushing buttons).