Although screen time is very enjoyable for you and your children, too much screen time can lead to negative behaviors and emotions.
Therefore, it is important to track your child’s situation in front of the screen and encourage them to balance in other activities off the screen.
Today, 90% of children participate in screen-based activities before the age of two. These early years are extremely important for the proper growth of children, so it’s important to minimize excessive screen time.
Kids trust that you will teach them healthy habits in front of the screen when they are very young, such that they can maintain these habits as they become more independent. They even rely on you to create an environment where they can connect safely.
What is Screen Time?
Screen time is basically whenever you’re in front of the screen, either watching TV, watching videos or playing portable games, or using a tablet or smartphone. It can be – Interactive-playing video games, chatting on Skype, or using online drawing tools.
Non-interactive– sitting and watching movies, TV shows, or YouTube videos. Educational– doing online homework. And Recreational– playing games or watching videos for entertainment.
According to the latest guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP),
- Children under 18 months should avoid using screen time except for video chats,
- Children between 18 months and two years old can watch or use programs or high-quality apps only if adults watch or play with them to let them know what they are seeing.
- Children between 2-5-years old should not spend more than one hour of screen time per day when they watch or play with them,
- Children aged six and older should have fixed time limits on electronic media and media usage types.
What does the screen time limit mean for your kids?
The screen time limit ensures that your child can perform many fun and healthy activities regardless of whether on screen or off the screen.
The limits mean observing your child’s screen time and ensuring they don’t interfere with sleep or activities that are beneficial to their development.
These activities include creative games such as sports games, reading, drawing, and hanging out with family and friends. Limits do not mean that you should prevent your children from watching TV or playing video games because they use screens doing homework in school.
These guides are designed to help you manage your family’s media usage in a world full of screens. AAP believes this is a good way to develop a media plan for the family.
Positive and Negative effects of Screen Time
- You will get involved and help your child make the right decisions about which games to play or which games to watch.
- You participate in and talk to your children about games or plans so they can get to know you.
- Using the screen will provide your child with new ideas for traditional games like Playing Minecraft; your child may get interested in design.
- Help children learn new skills; for example, making a video about hiking can help your child learn video editing skills.
- Technology can also be a way of communication for some children, especially children with neurodevelopmental conditions.
- Focusing on the screen can cause eye pain, irritation, and dryness, headaches, and fatigue.
- From top to bottom, the child may have neck and spine problems.
- Not using the screen for a long time can lead to inactive lifestyles, which may lead to obesity.
- Your children may encounter dangerous material or people on the internet.
- Children may be affected by negative behaviors, gender stereotypes, violent images, or vulgar language they see in advertisements and other media.
- Excessive screen time can also affect the development of children; for instance, it may affect your ability to speak, make eye contact, concentrate at school, or read body language.
- Hinder children from developing a wide range of interests, and unable to develop friends.
How to limit screen time for your kids?
When setting screen time limits, it can be difficult to determine which method is best for your child. You may have tried some strategies, but you can’t stick to them or don’t know where to start.
If you want to know how to limit screen time, we are here to help you. Here are few tips to help you reduce screen time:
Step 1: When the child is around, reduce the time spent watching TV and using mobile phones.
Step 2: Spend 20 minutes playing with the children every day.
Step 3: Provide alternatives such as board games, books, art projects, and sports in their leisure time.
Step 4: Practice independent play and convince your child that you will play with him in the future.
Step 5: Create a schedule that restricts device access and ask your child to help make the rules.
Step 6: Always turn off the device when not in use, and limit the screen time before going to bed to 1 hour or less.
Step 7: Avoid rewarding children with screen time, that will make it seem even more important.
Step 8: Invite children’s friends more often.
Step 9: Use family dinners and car trips as connecting moments above screen time..
Step 10: Explain to your child the dangers of spending too much time in front of the screen so that they are more likely to cooperate.
Step 11: Try to understand why your child wants to use the device by asking before using it. This will teach them more about how to use the device.
Step 12: Don’t reward children with screen time; it will habituate them negatively.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Should you limit your child’s screen time?
Yes, you should limit your child’s screen time depending upon their age. Today’s children have access to more electronic devices than ever before.
Between smartphones, gaming systems, TVs, and laptops, children spend an average of 6 to 9 hours a day staring at the screen. Watching the screen for a long time is an unhealthy practice because it will hinder your child’s imagination and ability to play outside.
Although spending too much time in front of the screen can have some negative effects, parents should not completely remove the screen. The time before the active screen also has its advantages. So this is about finding the right balance.
2. What are the effects of too much screen time?
Too much screen time symptoms are:
- Lack of sleep.
- Increased risk of obesity.
- A tendency to develop chronic diseases.
- Loss of cognitive skills.
- An inability to interact socially.
- Weakened emotional judgment.
- Reduced learning abilities
3. Can the effects of screen time be reversed?
Yes, few effects can be reversed only if your children :
- Add more exercise, exercise, and free play.
- Participate in games and creative activities.
- Practice mindfulness.
- Make connections: human touch, empathy, and love.
- Do daily housework for the whole family.
- Reduce the brightness of all displays.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exaggerated immoderate screen use among children. Further, online work has taken over in most parts of the world, which has made homes into offices.
This makes it even harder for parents to model suitable behavior. While there are possibilities of dangers to interacting with screens, there also are several plus points to engagement.
Education and parents must prioritize a student’s fine academic efforts, knowledge-building, and screen engagement.
Limiting a child’s screen time may seem like a daunting struggle, but it’s worth it. You can follow the steps mentioned above. Watching TV is impulsive.
The more you do this, the more you are forced to move on. But the situation is exactly the opposite. The more you turn off the screen, the easier it is to keep it off and limit your child’s screen time. You just need to start somewhere.