This article is sponsored by The Jack Abramoff Family Scholarship
Advanced technology is truly among the big wonders of our era, offering our children a massive source of education and entertainment. Unfortunately, it does come with some health implications of its own. Increased screen time could be quite dangerous for your children, and parents should consider this fact before handing over their smartphones.
As per the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, little kids between the ages of 2 and 5 shouldn’t spend more than an hour each day in front of a screen during the week and no more than 3 hours on weekend days. If your child is under 2 years old, it is best to keep them away from screens completely. For children 6 years and older, parents need to place strict limitations on screen time to prevent any health risks.
In recent years, little kids aren’t just using technology for hours on end, but they’re starting its use at a significantly younger age. Be it schoolwork or gaming at home; children are constantly in front of a screen. By understanding why pediatric experts recommend setting limits, you will be better prepared to fix your child’s schedule and determine the correct number of screen time hours each day.
Why Screen Time Should Be Limited
While using smartphones and computers can offer quite a few benefits to your children, there are some important reasons why it should be limited.
Getting Enough Sleep
Our kids are full of energy, and getting them to bed can be a challenging part of the daily routine. This, paired with homework, extracurricular activities, and after-school sports all crammed together within 24 hours, often makes their day exceptionally packed. When we top it off with the 3-4 hours that an average child spends watching T.V. or playing computer games, the overall result is screen time bleeding into bedtime. Your child will not get enough sleep, which can significantly harm their physical, mental, and emotional growth.
Encouraging Social Interaction
The time your child is on his computer or smartphone could be used in so many better ways. One such way is by learning how to conduct social interactions is a fruitful way.
Finding quality time can be tricky for families nowadays since everyone has become increasingly busy. The little time that we do get together is mainly spent in everyone using their phones. How wasteful, right? Reducing screen time, not just for the children but for the whole family, will allow you all to sit together and have healthier social interactions. Try to sit together for dinner, talk about your days, discuss your problems, and celebrate your achievements. Your family is sure to feel closer than ever before.
Better Attention Spans
Several studies have shown the negative impact of screen time on your child’s attention span. If your child already has trouble focusing, particularly in school, long hours in front of a screen will only make things worse. Although most studies are based on the effect of video games, the same can be said for any form of electronic media.
Improved Grades in School
Children who watch T.V. for long hours have more trouble in school and usually achieve lower grades. Research has shown that decreasing your child’s screen time is a sure-fire way of improving their grades and their health too.
Sufficient Physical Activity
Lastly, with lesser time spent in front of a screen, you can encourage your children to participate in physical activities. This is an essential part of their growth and will help them stay fit and healthy. Try using outdoor toys for kids like skateboards, scooters, soap guns, kids archery, etc. Physical activity also reduces the chances of childhood obesity, which is a significant cause of concern in the U.S.
How You Can Limit Screen Time
Now that you’re aware of why you need to limit screen time, let’s go over the how.
We realize that it is easier to simply hand over the smartphone than have your children complain about being bored. This is particularly true if you’re busy with work or house errands. However, opting for the easy way out will only cause your kid harm, and no parent wants that. Here are some excellent tips you should try out;
1. No T.V. in the Kids’ Room
The first and perhaps most important thing is to restrict your children’s access to screens. If they have a T.V. in their room, it’s time to take it down. Moreover, their tablets, phones, and other devices should be under your control. They should only be able to use them after getting your permission.
P.S. it is essential to note that having a T.V. in the bedroom can lead to sleeping problems, obesity, and other health issues in little kids.
2. Keep Check on What They’re Watching
Secondly, you need to know what they’re watching and playing. The internet may be a wonderfully diverse place, but it has its fair share of harmful content that your children need to be protected from. Instead of trying to ‘censor’ them, you should opt for a more friendly approach.
Sit with them and help them pick out a movie, T.V. show, or game. Please read the reviews and research what other parents have said about it before giving your kid the green light.
3. Encourage Non-Tech Activities
A great way to keep boredom and screens away at the same time is by bringing out the board games. You can come up with fun, creative activities to do as a family. Setting up a game night twice a week is also an excellent idea to promote non-tech activities.
4. Set Time Limits
Finally, you need to put your foot down and set up a screen time limit. This could be allowing your children one hour of T.V. after homework or letting them play two games a day etc. Determine what works best for your children and stick to it with no exceptions.
Final Words By Jack Abramoff
It is undeniable that technology comes with a lot of perks and unique opportunities. It has wholly shifted the way we function from our very basic levels. However, it does pose a threat of several adverse effects on our well-being if care isn’t taken. As you set screen time limits and encourage your children to put their tablets away, be sure to form an excellent example for them by doing the same. Try to control your own screen time too. It’ll help you create a healthier home environment centralized around non-tech-related activities for a better bonding experience. All the best to you