If you have children, then you will know how difficult it is to avoid screens. Although smart phones and computers do offer many benefits to your child’s learning, too much screen time is becoming a growing concern for parents.
Studies show that excessive screen time can have a negative impact on a child’s health and development. Therefore, it is important for parents to put a limit on screen time at home and monitor the type of content their children are viewing.
What are the dangers of too much screen time?
Research suggests that excessive screen time can affect a child’s physical and mental health. This is because it consumes time which could be spent socialising, learning and exercising. Other negative effects of too much screen time include:
When screen time increases, this usually means physical activity decreases. Lack of physical exercise can lead to weight gain and other health related problems.
Vision and posture problems
Looking at a screen for long periods of time can lead to eye strain and headaches. Children may also complain of neck and back pain, caused by poor posture habits when using their devices.
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.
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.
What can you do to reduce screen time?
If you feel that your child is spending too much time on their screens, then you will need to set a screen time limit. Here is where parents need to set a good example and limit their own screen time too! This means putting away your mobile phone and encouraging more family activities.
It is also your responsibility to ensure that your child is getting enough physical activity, away from their devices. Make time to explore the outdoors with your child and try ‘unplugged’ family evenings and weekends.
It may be unrealistic to prevent your child from using their devices completely, but encouraging them to enjoy other activities will help to look after their mental and physical wellbeing.