Why too much screen time unhealthy for kids?
Did you know 5-18 year-olds can spend 6-8 hours staring at electronic screens every day, adding up to 3 months out of every year?
Today’s children have grown up with a vast array of electronic devices at their fingertips. They can’t imagine a world without smartphones, tablets, and the internet.
Screen time is the amount of time spent on media devices such as TV, mobile phones, computers, tablets, etc. More and more parents turn to these technological devices to keep their children “pre-occupied”. This is to keep them from crying or from climbing on the furniture and so on. New research reveals four on five parents believe gadgets aid their child’s development, but how much screen time is healthy? Guidelines to reduce a child’s screen time for health, psychological and educational benefits.
Negative Effects of too much Screen
Teens who watch more than five hours of television per day are five times more likely to be overweight than teens who watch zero to two hours, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Watching television for more than 1 ½ hours daily is a risk factor for obesity for children ages 4-9. Seeing ads for high-calorie foods and snacking while watching contributes to the risk.
In addition, many suffer from increased heart and breathing rates, shaking and an overloaded sensory system, which can translate to stress and possibly more serious diseases and disorders over time. KidsHealth mentions another possible physical complaint among computer users due to overuse of the wrist: carpal tunnel syndrome. To counteract these issues, be sure to help your child set limits on screen time and activities since kids younger than 20 are often not able to do so on their own and make sure your child takes frequent breaks while on the computer.
Affects the social skills
For babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, most of their learning is about picking up the unwritten patterns of social interaction and emotional management that allow them to function in and interact with the world. The problem is, when it comes to screen time, that because of small children’s inability yet to transfer the lessons of the screen (assuming there are any) to real-world understanding, this critical social and emotional development doesn’t happen, at least not in the amount needed; the time for the parent-child interaction and free play that teach these skills is spent in front of a screen.
Aches and Pains
Phone neck, text thumb, and several other new medical terms had to be coined to describe the various aches and pains which are developing as a result of too much screen time. The head, neck,
Back pain, arthritis, repetitive motion syndrome, and migraines are just some of the health problems kids who have too much screen time today may develop in the future.
Kids need more sleep than adults due to their developing body and mind. The average child needs 10-12 hours of sleep each night in order for them to grow and develop properly, but screen time is shaving off hours of that much-needed sleep time. The average child is constantly sleep deprived and trying to learn, grow and develop on 6-8 hours of sleep per night at the most.
Children who sleep with electronic devices in their bedroom get less sleep than those who leave the devices in another room of the home at night. Not only are the children playing games and texting when they should be asleep, but the blue light emitted from the devices hinders sleep even after the device is shut off.
How to Protect Your kids from the Negative Effects?
- Wear specially formulated Irlen lenses that filter out adverse spectral bands of light, including blue light whenever you’re using technology, working under bright, artificial or fluorescent
lighting,or blue lights. Some blue-blocking lenses can remove up to 100% of the adverse blue light.
- Avoid high contrast patterns on walls, furniture, clothes, and floors. De-clutter to minimize distractions.
- Use dimmers and zoned lighting fixtures to regulate brightness and room lighting levels to improve comfort and decrease fatigue while working.
- Turn off technology 2 hours before bedtime. Blue light disrupts your circadian rhythm and makes it harder to sleep.
- Avoid using devices in complete darkness, as this increases eye strain due to contrasting lighting and visual stress.
- Turn down the brightness on the devices that you use. There are a number of apps and settings on phone that are designed to decrease the blue light emitted by devices, so you can also explore what they have to offer.