In today’s digital world it is very difficult for children to avoid computers, tablets and smart phones. Although technology has many benefits to offer the younger generation, like instant access to educational resources, too much screen time is becoming a growing concern for parents.
Excessive screen time can negatively impact a child’s health and development. Therefore, it is important for parents to keep a close eye on screen time, as well as monitor the type of media that their children are viewing.
An independent day school in Oxfordshire suggests that understanding the dangers of too much screen time can help parents to establish a more sensible approach. Read on to learn more…
Why is too much screen time bad for your child?
Research suggests that excessive screen time can affect a child’s physical, psychological and social development. This is because it consumes time which could be spent socialising, learning and exercising. Other negative effects of too much screen time are:
Poor health – When screen time increases, this usually means physical activity decreases. Lack of physical exercise can lead to weight gain and other health related issues.
Vision and posture issues – Looking at a screen for long periods of time can lead to eye strain and headaches. Children may also complain of neck or back pain, caused by poor posture habits when using their devices.
Sleep problems – Screen time before bed can lead to sleeping difficulties. This is due to the blue light that is emitted from digital devices. Studies have found that this type of light suppresses our melatonin production, which is a sleep-promoting hormone.
Behaviour problems – Excessive screen time can also lead to emotional, social and attention problems. Furthermore, without the proper parental controls in place children can be exposed to inappropriate or violent content online.
How can you reduce screen time?
It is important to set screen time limits at home and ensure that your child is also participating in physical activities, away from their devices. Here is where parents need to set a good example and limit your own screen time too!
It may be unrealistic and unnecessary to prevent your children from using electronic devices completely, but encouraging them to enjoy other activities is a good balance. Look into your local extra-curricular activities. A new hobby can help to focus your child’s attention on something other than their phones or tablets.
Setting screen time limits is also important for your child’s mental well-being. Ensure they have enough spare time for other enriching activities and experiences and try ‘unplugged’ family time at the weekends.