When you allow your toddler to spend a tremendous amount of screen time, it may result in delaying his development of certain skills like sociability and language as per the findings of a Canadian study. In the United States and Canada, experts believe that kids must not get exposed to screen time before they are 18 months of age, at least. However, no such restrictions are set by the guidelines of the United Kingdom. As per the ‘Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health’, they have not come across adequate evidence to prove that excessive screen time had any direct toxic effects.
According to the ‘American Academy of Pediatrics’ at Webmd.com, children should not be allowed to use a screen for over one or a couple of hours per day. As per an eminent professor of psychology from Iowa State University, screen time could have several potentially harmful effects on children ranging from just newborns to adolescents, and also young adults. When children keep watching excessive fast-paced shows that keep switching rapidly from one scene to another, they could be having issues in focusing or concentrating in the classroom.
Moreover, children with screen exposure for extended sessions could have issues such as excessive weight gain or insomnia or too little sleep. Experts believe that excessive time spent on watching television or playing video games may lead to missing out on fruitful face-to-face opportunities of learning, time to enjoy playing outside, and establishing connections with friends. As parents, you must be concerned about what all are being displaced in your kid’s life because of screen time.
Reasons to Minimize Screen Time for Your Kids:
Excessive Screen Time Could Cause Physiological Impairment
More and more kids are complaining these days about neck pain. They are mostly sitting down, slouching over, lying down, or bending over it. When they are sitting down and bending their spine alignment is bound to get altered. This kind of misalignment could be having a direct correlation to proper blood circulation leading to impairment of healthy brain development. Here are some ill-effects of excessive kids’ screen time on your kid’s psychology:
Headaches: When kids use screens for extended periods, there is persistent exposure to the screen’s bright blue light. This is known to induce headaches in kids. The underlying issue is that persistent headaches could adversely impact a kid’s ability to focus on studies and perform his tasks efficiently. His overall performance and studies are bound to get affected as per Jonah Engler.
Poor Vision: More kids of this generation wear spectacles today as compared to kids of the previous generation. Experts believe that your kid’s eyes could be strained as a result of excessive blue light exposure. Research reveals that persistent eye strain could culminate in poor vision not only in kids but also in adults alike. Headaches and poor vision make it mandatory to wear specs to correct the vision but this makes it difficult for kids to participate in fast-paced activities and contact sports.
Physical Activity Declines: With loads of fascinating and intriguing content available to the kids on screen, physical activities take a back seat. Kids would find any sort of physical activity as boring and a huge burden. Due to a lack of active participation in sports and other physical activities, their body and muscles are not exercised sufficiently. If kids stay locked inside their homes watching television or playing video games, they do not get the benefit of playing outside in the fresh air.
Ample physical activity and fresh air are necessary for the proper development and overall well-being of your kids. When kids take part in active sports, they get an opportunity to come in contact with other kids and they make many new friends. They learn to communicate and enjoy each other’s company. Physical activities help your kids learn key skills such as team spirit, teamwork, coordination, etc. Your kid’s ability to socialize is sure to take a hit if he is wasting valuable time indoors glued to the screen. Moreover, lack of proper physical activity could lead to obesity.
Psychological Impairment Is the Effect of Excessive Screen Time
You must have noticed how a kid gets hyper and irritated if he is stopped from watching the television or playing video games. That is simply because they do not like being denied the stimulating and fascinating experience provided by the screens. Small kids between five and twelve are used to observing people around them and accordingly develop their social skills, language skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills, self-confidence, etc. However, if your kid spends an excessive amount of time staring at these screens, he would miss out on the interactions and that may hamper his personality and character development.
Creativity & Imagination Hampered: Creativity and imagination are the pillars of a child’s character. Kids today, spend a tremendous amount of time playing with gadgets and they are losing touch with reality. Gadgets are responsible for depriving them of the ability and time to think and be imaginative.
Triggers Depression & Anxiety: A kid who is used to spending a lot of time in front of the television or playing video games would be depressed and anxious if asked to stay away from the screen for some time. He or she would not be interested at all in mingling with others.
Ways to Restrict Screen Time
As per the BBC, you must consider setting some boundaries. If a kid is having access to a smartphone at a tender age, you must know the implications and risks associated with it. In the case, screen time is adversely impacting mealtime interaction, sleep, exercise, and diet, you need to start a negotiation and come to an agreement. You may make a deal that no phones would be used while having dinner or during bedtime, or until homework is done or before breakfast, etc.
You need to reexamine your own use. Are you setting a bad example for your kid? Parents must demonstrate flawless behavior for kids to follow. You must prioritize sleep. A well-rested kid would be prepared to discuss things logically without getting irritated or acting irrationally. Children should get their daily quota of sleep. Moreover, consider adding tech-free time to the daily schedule of your family.
Your children must be told that there would be specific times during the day when screens would be out of bounds. You must dedicate some time for the family to unwind and have fun together. While indulging in the fun activity together, nobody should be allowed to use any devices. You must consider helping your children identify other interesting and fruitful ways of spending time and having great fun apart from staring aimlessly at the screen.
About Jonah Engler
Jonah Engler is a New York-based financial expert. Engler has done it all, from being a stockbroker on Wall Street, growing startup businesses, starting and growing a mobile franchise business, and much more. Jonah is an avid coffee lover and active investor – always looking to help grow private and public companies both small and large.