How Too Much Screen Time Can Be Harmful to Our Kids
Back in the day, kids and teens used to indulge in all sorts of sports and physical activities to spend their time. The physical activities were not only good for their body but their mental health as well. Fast forward to 2020, everything has drastically changed for them now.
Today’s kids and teens spend the majority of their time around various digital devices. It wouldn’t be a surprise to find kids having computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets at their fingerprints these days. In fact, it’s hard for them to imagine a world without these electronic devices.
The advancements in technology have pushed parents to take in the roles of being digital parents for their kids. Digital parenting requires them to figure out how they can limit screen time for kids and teens. Certainly, parental control apps have helped them master this problem to some extent.
But is limiting screen time with the help of parental controls and monitoring apps enough? We don’t think so. Besides tracking them online, it is also advisable to have a meaningful conversation with kids to make them understand how too much screen time can be detrimental for their overall wellbeing.
What Does Stats Say About Screen Time?
There is no doubt that digital devices are capable of offering a copious amount of educational content and endless hours of fun and entertainment. But let’s not forget that excess of everything is bad. That said, too much screen time can be harmful to our kids in several ways.
Looking at the statistics related to screen time, we come to realize that it’s important for kids to spend a considerable amount in front of their screens. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended parents to allow no more than two hours of screen time for kids and teens. Kids under the age of two are not at all recommended any screen time.
Despite these recommendations, kids and teens have gone far ahead when it came to spending time in front of their screens. In 2010, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation published a study revealing that the screen time of kids between the ages of 8 and 18 was around seven and a half hours.
But it was not only the kids who were spending too much time before their screens. Several parents have failed to impose a considerable amount of time before their screens. As per the Kaiser Family Foundation, it was found that the average adult spent over eleven hours per day behind a screen.
Therefore, it was important to impose screen time limits not only on kids but adults as well. Let us understand how too much screen time can be harmful to everyone in the family, especially kids.
How Too Much Screen Time Can Be Damaging
Whether you choose to keep the TV on throughout the day or the entire family including your kids sits around staring at their screens, it is understood that too much screen time can be harmful to everyone.
Let us understand what could be the negative effects of too much screen time for kids.
Kids and teens who spend more than two hours per day before screens are more likely to go through attention, social, and emotional problems. They exhibit a strange pattern in their behavior which can be disturbing for the entire family. Parents may witness kids throwing more tantrums, becoming ruder, and also disobeying to everything that they are told to do.
A sedentary lifestyle puts both kids and adults at huge health risks. The more the screen time, the more kids tend to lead a lazy and inactive lifestyle. Kids who spend a lot of time in front of screens playing video games or watching movies can have the risk of becoming overweight. Obesity is one severe health issue that they can be exposed to whereas too much screen time can also bring several other health problems for them.
Lack of Sleep
Research has proven than too much screen time can cause sleep problems for both kids and adults. While screen time during the day may not bring too much problem, it can backfire at night. The light emitted from digital devices disrupts the sleep cycle in the human brain and hence can lead to insomnia and other sleep problems. Health experts do not recommend using screens before going to bed.
Lack of Concentration
Kids and teens who spend way more than time on their digital devices lack concentration in their studies. Instead of focusing on their homework and assignments, they prefer spending time before screens. Some kids also have a habit of using mobile phones in between while completing their homework which can lead them to poor grades due to lack of concentration. It has also been seen that kids who have TVs mounted in their bedrooms show poor performance in schools.
Kids can become desensitized to violence if they are continuously exposed to violent media including movies, TV shows, music, and video games. As a result, they may begin using violence to solve problems. Worse, they may even go on to imitate whatever violence they see on TV.
Disturbs Parent/Child Relationship
Too much use of digital devices can also harm parents’ relationships with their kids. Not only kids but parents also go through the same problems if they spend too much time before screens. Some parents also experience far bigger health problems than most kids such as anxiety and depression. The overuse of the internet and social media can take away the quality time that every parent should spend with their kid, hence disrupting their bond.
Establishing Screen Time Limits
It is not going to help if you don’t put limits on your kid’s screen time. It is certainly not going to help if you ask your kid to turn off his video game on his cellphone while you’re just sitting there, watching TV in front of him.
What is going to help is the fact that you, as a parent, establish screen time limits at home. You can set healthy limits on all the digital devices at home not only for your kid’s sake but for your sake as well.
You can start by establishing a few household rules to limit screen time for your family. The rules are as follows:
- Do not allow your kids or yourself to use digital devices during meals.
- Do not allow screen time while in the car.
- Do not allow kids to use digital devices in their bedrooms.
- Do not allow the use of electronics during family fun evenings and nights.
Besides establishing these household rules, you can also consider installing the best parental control app on your kid’s phone. A parental control app helps limit screen time for your kids as it sets time limits per day as to when your kid can access the internet, sites, and apps on their devices.