Why should Parents Limit Screen Time? We have all heard the advice to keep screen time (TV, tablets, cellphones, etc.) to a minimum as parents of young children. Most of us have found it difficult at times to abide by such boundaries.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has now changed their position and now makes a distinction between different forms of screen usage (for as watching TV versus using video chat). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also addresses how we expose our children to screen time, suggesting that parents “co-view media” (i.e., watch it with their kids) to help youngsters comprehend what they are seeing.
It’s crucial to consider how we use devices with our children. In general, if we utilize screens as a tool, parents and kids start to depend on screens. For instance, a lot of parents use screens to encourage their kids to sit still or to help them calm down when they’re agitated. While useful at the time, such reliance can also prevent children from learning skills that are suitable for their age.
Changing your attitude about screen time may be necessary to give your kids the chance to develop these abilities for application in a range of contexts. Self-regulation, which can be broken down into three elements that cooperate to help us stay regulated, is a topic that is frequently discussed in the early childhood mental health community. These elements are cognitive (focusing our attention and thoughts), emotional (remaining calm, recovering when upset), and physiological (managing our behaviors and actions).
Also Read: 13 Best Foods For Pregnant Women
What Differs About the New Screen Time Guidelines
Previous recommendations made it quite apparent how much time kids should spend using screens. The most recent regulations present a more adaptable strategy.
There isn’t a set recommendation for how many hours parents should set apart for their children to use screens, although they are encouraged to do so. What the AAP has to say regarding screen time is as follows:
- Media has benefits and drawbacks. Technology, like everything else, has advantages and disadvantages. Although educational information can teach children a lot, it can also expose them to violent material, improper imagery, and unwholesome commercials. Take action to ensure that your child has a positive media experience.
- Setting a good example is crucial. Being a good role model is important since your child will probably imitate how you use media. Spend time outside, read books, and get some exercise. Set sensible restrictions on your own use of devices.
- Regarding technology, children need rules. Set limits on the websites, games, and movies your youngster is allowed to access. Wait until your child is old enough to manage the responsibility before giving him access to social media.
- Use the technologies that your youngster is using. Participate in your child’s online life. Explore the Internet with your child and learn how to play the games they like. Look for enjoyable things you can do with gadgets.
- Make time to disconnect from technology. On certain days of the week or at particular times of the day, turn off your electronics. It’s crucial that children have time to spend doing things away from their electronic devices.
- Set sensible restrictions on screen time. Most children are unable to manage constant access to their electronics. Limit your child’s screen time to ensure their physical and emotional well-being. Every Saturday, don’t let your kid watch TV all day, and don’t let him stay up late playing video games.
- Make learning opportunities out of media blunders. Keep an eye on your child’s behavior, and be ready for occasional missteps. Turning mistakes into learning opportunities will help your child perform better the next time, whether he accesses an unsuitable website or exceeds his smartphone’s data allowance.
- Teens are allowed to use the internet. Most teenagers’ life revolves heavily around social media. Give your teen permission to interact with others online. Online communication will probably have a stronger impact on your teen’s future job.
The Dangers of Excessive Screen Time
Too much screen time may be dangerous, regardless of whether you leave the TV on all the time or your family spends the entire mealtime glued to their iPhones. Here are some research findings:
- Behavior issues: Children in elementary school who spend more than two hours a day watching TV or using a computer are more likely to experience emotional, social, and attention issues.
- Education issues: Students in elementary school who have televisions in their beds perform worse on academic exams.
- Obesity: Spending too much time doing sedentary activities like watching TV and playing video games can increase your chance of gaining weight.
- Insomnia: Despite the fact that many parents use TV to unwind before night, using a screen right before bed can cause problems with sleep. Because screen light disrupts the brain’s natural sleep cycle.
Why should Parents Limit Screen Time?
Children may get desensitized to violence as a result of exposure to violent video games, music, movies, and TV shows. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, eventually they may resort to violence to resolve issues and may emulate what they watch on television.
Self-regulation skill development requires practice, and using screens might obstruct the process. Children won’t learn to utilize their bodies or minds to help them calm down on their own if, for instance, parents and kids develop the practice of playing a YouTube video whenever the child becomes upset. Furthermore, young toddlers do not learn how to use their social abilities to calm themselves with those around them, frequently their parents. Children who start to rely on screens to help them sit at the dinner table, stay in their crib, or wait in line are also missing out on the chance to exercise key self-control abilities.
Self-control abilities are crucial because they serve as the basis for abilities that are useful in the classroom, such as remaining calm and paying attention to a teacher. Since the capacity to pay attention is a prerequisite for all other academic skills, attention/self-regulation is frequently referred to as “the foundation of learning.” By giving kids the option to regulate in more independent or social ways and reducing our reliance on screens, we can assist our children in developing these skills.
Children who spend a lot of time in front of screens experience negative effects beyond the development of their self-regulation skills. In contrast to what parents may think, screen time actually overstimulates and diverts children’s attention, which can be a greater challenge for families who rely on screens to persuade their children to sit quietly. While a youngster is watching a television, their body is not moving, but their eyes and ears are exposing them to tremendous, quick-moving stimulus.
A youngster will learn that the only way to quiet their body is to overstimulate their minds if we educate them to use television or electronic devices for relaxation or sleep. Because their brains become accustomed to this kind of stimulus, youngsters may eventually become less and less interested in activities that are not as engaging (such as playing with basic toys, reading books, following along with a teacher, etc.).
Screen time can have such a profound impact on the brain that it may continue to function as though we were still watching the TV or other device even after we have turned it off. Because of this, using a screen at night can still make it harder to fall asleep or impact how well you sleep.
Parents can set a good example for their children and other family members by cutting back on their own screen time and increasing their face-to-face time with them. Our children will be better able to handle any circumstance they may encounter, whether it be at home, at school, or in other social settings, if we help them develop these self-regulatory abilities. We can give our kids the best chance to succeed in school and throughout their lives by adjusting our screen-time behaviors and focusing on building age-appropriate behavioral responses while their brains are still developing.
How to Set Family Rules for Electronics
It won’t help anyone if you tell your child to stop playing video games while you’re watching TV. You must establish sensible restrictions on your use of devices for both your personal sake and the sake of your child.
You might want to adopt the following house rules to limit screen time:
- No use of electronics while eating with family.
- During family fun nights, no usage of devices.
- In the vehicle, no screen time.
- Screens are not permitted in bedrooms.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is limiting a child’s screen time a wise idea?
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to limit older children's screen time to no more than one or two hours per day and discourages media use in children under the age of two.
What are the consequences of excessive screen time?
Children who spend too much time on screens may develop obesity, sleep issues, chronic neck and back pain, depression, anxiety, and poorer academic performance. The recommended daily screen time for kids is between one and two hours. Adults should make an effort to restrict their screen usage after work.
Does screen time with TV count?
The phrase "screen time" refers to activities performed in front of a screen, including television viewing, computer use, and video game play. Sedentary activity is when you spend time in front of a screen while remaining seated. Screen time consumes very little energy.
Is watching TV educational?
Children's use of screens can aid in the development of their communication, social, and creative skills. Making videos, taking pictures, using online maps, and teaching people how to use games or applications are all examples of ways to use screen time for learning.
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: