With the increase in digitalization, technological devices have become the closest friend to anyone, especially young kids and teens. Their eyes are always on the screen 24/7 and are hooked with their devices.
Parents want their kids to spend an hour or so on the social platform, and they spend the rest of their time outside the Internet world with their friends and families.
But in reality, it’s only lunchtime, and they have been on the device for 5-6 hours, and you are yelling at them again to put it down.
The following is the statistics presented by the Kaiser Family Foundation:
- Children below the age of 6 are estimated to spend around 2 hours every day in front of their devices.
- On average, children from age 8-18 tend to spend 7 hours and 48 minutes for entertainment, playing games, social networking, etc.
What Happens When You Give Unlimited Screen Access to Your Kids?
Trying to monitor and suppress screen time might be challenging since screens are all over the place. We must bring greater notice and awareness of the possible impact of screen time on children. Early childhood is a time of accelerated growth and a period where parent lifestyle patterns can be changed to improve health advantages.
Children are quick learners, but they tend to learn more quickly through live presentations rather than videos on electronic devices. If any child grows behind the devices, the child might go through severe problems and dangers.
Following are the reasons why we should adopt a lifestyle to reduce screen time when it comes to our kids:
Loss of Social Skills
Kids and teenagers use social platforms to interact and connect with people all around the world virtually. They can make hundreds of friends through it and can easily communicate without any hesitation.
However, when they tend to make friends or meet new people in the real world, they aren’t as comfortable and confident practically. Children lose value to his/her personality.
Disturbed Sleep Schedules
Everyone is well aware that the blue light emitted through electronics is not good for the eyes. When the eyes are exposed to a high amount of blue light, the body clock is affected.
This makes it difficult to fall asleep and get quality sleep, which will gradually harm the children’s proper growth and development.
Likewise, if you do not monitor your kid’s screen time, they can play their games and surf social media all night, which disturbs their sleeping pattern.
Spending too much time on mobile devices, not just disturbs kids’ sleeping patterns but also dries their eyes and causes eye irritation.
You may be aware that cell phones and other digital devices emit blue light, which is harmful to our eyes as it can damage our retinal cells.
Therefore, when kids spend too much time on devices, they can face eye problems like nearsightedness, eye fatigue, retinal damage, etc.
With the increased screen time comes obesity along the way. Whenever the kids are on their devices, they are probably sitting or lying down.
Engaging oneself in physical activities is quite often ignored by young people. Electronics are all they need today.
Anyone who is not physically active will stress their body and lead to weight gain, restlessness, disturbed sleep schedule, diabetes, etc.
A study illustrated that more than 4 hours of screen time a day would double the risk of getting hospitalized by heart or dying.
The most prominent detrimental impact any child or teenager has on social media is the growth of extreme addiction and fixation. A study stated that 50% of kids and teens are addicted to their electronic devices.
Spending hours daily on electronics will impact any child’s development as it will affect their emotions and behaviors.
How Many Hours of Screen Access is Okay For Kids?
There is no exact time limit estimated for children by age. It is actually up to the parent to control and monitor their child’s screen access. However, the following are the suggested screen time by age:
Below 18 months
|Avoid digital screens|
|It is best to keep kids of 18-24 months away from electronics, but if any parent would choose to display a screen to their child, watch it with them to make them understand what they are watching.|
|Screen time for this age group should be limited to no more than an hour a day.|
|Place a consistent limit on their time spent on social media or gaming.|
12 years and older
|Create technology-free zones and make sure to set up parental control apps or software in their devices to restrict inappropriate content.|
How Can Parents Limit Their Child’s Screen Time?
Set an Example:
Any parent should start by working on themselves before trying to alter the behavior of their children. Kids at an early age tend to copy behaviors from their parents.
For example, if you read a book, they do the same. If the parent is round the clock on their cell phones while they restrict his/her child from doing so, any child will oppose it.
Parents should start by having a good and positive screen habit, like limiting your screen use.
Technology Free Area:
Kids tend to take their devices along with them and have eyes on the screen wherever they go. Parents should set a rule where technological devices are restricted in certain zones in the house. For example, areas like their bedroom, dining table, kitchen, and washroom.
Parental Control Apps:
Some mechanisms restrict one’s devices from unsuitable content on the Internet. Parental control apps or software could be installed in your child’s gadgets to filter any inappropriate or explicit content.
You cannot physically monitor your kids all the time when they are using their devices. Your kids might feel uncomfortable when you constantly look at their devices when they are using their devices.
Hence, by using parental control apps, you can monitor your kids remotely without making them feel uncomfortable.
Parents should set a time limit for using electronics right from an early age. It’s never too early to set a time limit for children.
Parents should also turn the router off before bed. Because if it is left on the whole night, you cannot monitor your child’s screen use, nor you will know if your child is online the whole night.
Encourage Other Activities:
Kids are close to their computers, so they’re losing out on the adventure of the real world. Kids must have various talents or preferences; parents can support activities such as sports, music, dance, volunteering, etc., something that is not interactive.
When children indulge in physical exercise, they tend to be more content, energetic, imaginative, and productive.
Explain The Reason For Setting The Screen Time Limit:
Kids, when they love doing anything, do not pay attention to its negative side. They get hooked with it.
It is your responsibility to aware and acknowledges your children the negatives associated with high screen time and the limitations and restrictions.
When any kid is not aware of the reason behind it, they will assume that their parent is being mean, which might, in turn, lead them in breaking the rules.