Is your kid not able to sleep at night? Does your child have anxiety issues? Are they gaining too much weight? It’s all because of SCREEN TIME! Screen time for kids is really an issue that parents need to work on immediately.
What is Screen Time for Kids?
The first 5 years of a kid’s life are very important for their brain development. During this age, they learn a lot about their surroundings.
They experience new sounds, tastes, sights, etc. They start seeing the world around them. And in this digital era, doctors highly recommend limiting the screen time for kids of this age group.
FACT: In the United States, kids from the age of 6-12 spend around 6 hours watching or using screens.
The activities vary from playing games to watching movies or scrolling through endless social media posts
But limiting the screen time can be tough these days, right? But as a parent, how can you ensure that your kids are not over-consuming it?
It’s getting tough to keep kids away from TVs, smartphones, and computers. They pass most of their time by consuming multi-media.
Parents give their kids phones and computers as distraction tools so that they can work in peace. But in the long run, this leads to many health issues in these kids.
Most parents are worried about their kid’s screen time.
And if you are one of them, then this article will guide you through the pros and cons of screen time for kids. Read till the end!
How much Screen time for kids is too much?
Although there’s no set limit for kids on screen time, there are some adverse effects it can have on kids.
For example, most kids spend too much time with their smartphones or tablets. And it’s mostly for entertainment purposes.
Screens narrow down their area of interest and limit their other means of exploration.
A study conducted by NIH revealed that kids with more than 2 hours of screen time a day scored lower on language and thinking tests.
Also, those with more than 7 hours of screen time experienced thinning of the brain’s cortex that’s related to critical thinking and reasoning.
That’s why it is highly recommended to parents that they must take measures to limit the screen time of their kids to a maximum of 1 hour a day.
Let’s break down what are the things they watch and do. Also, why parents should restrict them from these activities.
In general, kids might be exposed to some negative content without their parent’s knowledge. Some of them are:
- Obscene Content
- Violent activities
- Inappropriate or misleading information
- Games unsuitable for their age
We have made a list for parents to refer to for their kid’s screen time according to their age.
For Age: 0-2 Years
Parents should completely restrict their kid’s screen times. Kids must not get screen exposure before they turn 2 years.
Exposing them to screens will not only slow down their brain development but also make them less aware of the world.
This is the age when babies learn the most about their surroundings.
For Age: 2-5 Years
At this age, parents can consider introducing their kids to screens. But yes, parents must assist them with what they watch.
Kids can be introduced to basic audio-visuals for educational purposes. Screen time must be limited to not more than 1 hour.
For Age: 5-12
At this age, kids start going to school. Limit the time they spend on social media and other mediums.
Also, monitor their sleep cycles. Make sure they don’t use mobiles or PCs during their sleep times. Keep them engaged in physical activities as well.
Beware, this is the time of their lives when they are more prone to negative content. We have already mentioned about negative contents above. So make sure they don’t fall into that trap.
For Age: 12 and Above
By the time kids turn 12, they already have a proper understanding of their surroundings. But on the contrary, they also hit puberty. This is a crucial age for kids.
The best ways parents can take care of their kid’s screen time is by setting no-screen times during specific periods such as dinner, breakfast, driving.
Parents can also designate screen-free locations such as bedrooms or washrooms.
What Excessive usage of Screens can lead to?
Excessive screen times are BAD!!
There are lots of physical as well as mental health drawbacks. But most parents barely know them, or unknowingly avoid them.
Some of the adverse effects of higher screen times are:
- Sleeping Problems
- Lower Academic Grades
- Less interaction with family and friends.
- Lesser Physical Activities.
- Mood Swings
- Fear of Missing Out
- Inferiority Complex
- Lesser Relaxation Activities.
The kid’s vision also gets affected due to extreme screen usage. It includes Eye fatigue, a condition where your eyes get tired from intense use causing double vision, headaches, and concentration difficulties.
Dry and irritated eyes come into place when we use screens because we tend to blink less when staring at a screen. Thus, our eyes become dry and irritated.
Imagine a 10-year-old kid with these issues. It will be really tough for kids to get out of these kinds of situations. It’s never too late to change.
That’s why the next section is all about how to utilize a kid’s screen time.
How to Develop Positive Screen Time with Digital Devices?
To develop positive screen time for kids, participate in activities that are both engaging and educating at the same time. Using a digital device at a young age can be beneficial sometimes.
Kids will get to know about the changing trends in technology, and learn so much about the digital world.
If you are uncertain of the benefits of digital devices, then we have the perfect list of how your kids can wisely use digital devices. They are:
The internet is full of learning resources. Kids can learn anything of their choice. Everything is just a click away. There are different websites solely made for education.
For example, Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia. It has one of the largest databases of learning resources.
Digital devices are also good to improve communication skills. It keeps you connected with your close ones. Suppose you are out for a vacation, your kids can always communicate with you through video calls and chats.
Digital devices provide healthy behaviors to some extent. There are some applications available online that help you to learn Yoga or perform meditation.
There are also apps that aware kids of unhealthy lifestyles, diets, and behaviors. These apps are great to build good habits in kids.
Another way kids can utilize screens is by showcasing their talents.
A kid can showcase their songs, dance, art, sports, or any other talent online. It will boost their confidence and give them a boost to use the resources positively.
Youtube is a great website where kids can record videos and upload them online.
Coding is one of the best ways to utilize screen time properly. It is one of the most important skills in the 21st century.
It imbibes countless thinking skills in kids. Helps them get better academic marks, improves their focus, and communication all at the same time.
Parents are highly recommended to teach their kids coding skills. This is a blessing in disguise. Kids will notice its benefits instantly.
For example, Codevidhya’s live coding classes are a great way to start a kid’s coding journey. The classes will help kids to perfectly utilize their screen time as well as learn a new skill.
Parents can book a FREE Coding Class for their kids by clicking this link.