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How is Screen Time Affecting Your Children?

screentimes

Nowadays, keeping children inseparable from the screen has become next to impossible. Pushed by Covid-19, controlling screen time has become one of the challenges to the parents after the virus.

Many of the children are affected by excessive screen timing. We are living in a world where kids have their gadgets and are becoming technology-feeding zombies.

According to Sense Media, ‘children under eight years spend an average 2.25 hours on screen’; perhaps, the situation has exacerbated after the pandemic.

Excessive screen time not only affects the kid but also has adverse effects on the adults.

What is Screen Time?

Screen timing is the exposure to the screen in any way that includes watching television, using phones, devices, virtual games, etc.

Seeing your kids spending most of the time on screen is a matter of concern for you. Speech delay is one of the most discussed questions in parenting that directly and indirectly links to screen time.

How is Screen Timing Affecting Your Children?

Screen timing seems to be a good option when your kids are throwing tantrums, a source of distraction to interrupt when they are busy.

However, it also has its disadvantages, and it affects your child in different ways.

What are the effects of Screen Timing on Children?

Too much screen timing can lead to myriad developmental, physical, and behavioral problems. It can lead to

  • obesity
  • Weak eyesight
  • Attention-deficit
  • Less focus span
  • Behavioral issue
  • Speech delay and etc.

Threatens Attention Span

Watching television, playing video games doubles the risk of losing the attention span, not only in children but also in adults.

Research shared by the State University of Iowa, “Those children who exceeded the AAP recommendation were about 1.6 times to 2.2 times more likely to have greater than average attention problems.”

Effects Learning Ability

Yes, you read it right. Screen timing also affects the learning ability.

A child under two years of age does not learn from watching videos and screens. A baby learns from outside the world of television and gadgets.

Studies have shown that ‘children under two years old do not learn from videos, but they learn from other people.’

Speech delay and Screen Timing

Speech delay is one of the biggest concerns of many parents nowadays.

It seems to be the most popular and trending question on social media regarding parenting. Besides other neurological issues, screen time plays a significant role in the speech delay of children.

‘Each 30 minutes handheld screen time increased 49% risk of expressive speech delay’, said Catherine Berkins ( A Pediatrician and scientist).

Effects Focusing

Some studies show that lots of screen timing affect the focusing, linking it to a problem called ‘grey matter atrophy.

Screen time and its effects on brain

Excessive exposure to digital media can change the physical structure of the brain.’

Dr. Nikole Beurkens, World-leading holistic Child Psychologist. Resultantly speech delay, shortening focus and attention span.

A recent study showed that increased screen time might risk leading to lead white matter changes in the brain, negatively affecting the brain development of language and literacy skills in young children.

Screen time and Behavioural issues

Besides exposure to screen media affects brain health in several ways, a child also adapts to behavioral issues because of watching violent and inappropriate content. A child may not want to socialize as he is more involved in screen-related games as the brain releases dopamine when he watches or plays video games.

*dopamine is a feeling happy hormone.

Leads to self-gratification

Watching television and playing video games leads to self-gratification because the exciting nature of the screen triggers the release of dopamine- a neurotransmitter that associates screen with pleasure.

Self-gratification lets your child spend more time watching and playing, turning in controlling the situation as per his desire, which later, in the future, doesn’t let him face disappointments and ‘NO’.

Photo by Robo Wunderkind on Unsplash

Other issues linking to screen timing

Obesity: involvement in sedentary activities can lead to obesity and, later on, obesity-related health issues.

Depression & anxiety: excessive screen time also leads to depression and anxiety in kids and adults, too, suggest experts.

Sleeping problem: light emitting from the screens interferes with the brain leading to disturbing the sleep cycle.

Poor performance: kids who use excessive screen time and do not sleep enough are more likely to act impulsively and make poor decisions, found researchers at the CHEO Research Institute in Ottawa.

Guideline to Screen Timing

The following guideline is recommended by the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP)

  • Except for exceptional circumstances (video calling), no screen time for kids under 18 months should be encouraged, except for exceptional circumstances ( video calling ).
  • High-Quality screen time can be introduced for the kids above 18–24 months that supplements child learning only- that too for a short interval of time.
  • One-hour screen media should be allowed for children aged 2–5 years, time not exceeding it.
  • Parents can introduce a reasonable screen time limit after six years of age.

High-Quality Screen Time

Ensuring high-quality screen time is one of the bonus points to make your child take advantage of technological advancement.

High-quality screen time includes interactive games, videos, and other virtual activities that stimulate cognitive development.

Tips to Overcome Excessive Screen Timing

  • Follow a healthy routine of work, play, physical activities, and sleep.
  • Socialize.
  • Interaction and talk.
  • Reading time-Inculcate healthy habits of reading books.
  • Allow a healthy and reasonable screen time as guided by the AAP.
  • For younger kids, demonstration and access to gadgets play a significant role in developing the habit of watching screens. For that, hide the gadgets and do not demonstrate them.

Conclusion

Parenting is not an easy job. Sometimes, as a way out, we seek short-term solutions without delving into its far-reaching effects on our children.

Excessive screen time leads to multi-faceted problems that affect the overall well-being of kids. Making healthy boundaries and teaching healthy habits is the only solution.

Fujn is a platform that promotes women’s learning, success, intelligence, happiness, and emotional wellbeing. Join Fujn to learn, grow, get jobs, and make money. Launching in 2022.

Authored by Afsheen Khan for Fujn

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