With every generation, we are becoming more dependent on electronics, it seems. It started with the television, then evolved into computers and handheld devices as time went on. Because of this, many are glued to their screens every day, and children are the most likely to spend the larger portions of their days with screen time. How is this affecting your children? Let’s take a look at some of the facts about screen time and what it means for your child’s life.
5. Social Problems
When your kids are spending too much time on social media, they’re much more likely to spend less time being social in real life and it affects your child’s behavior. Studies have shown that children who spend more time on their phones are more likely to feel lonely. “Parents should encourage kids to hang out with peers in person, as this is protective against loneliness and depression,” said study leader Dr. Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. “And is good for mental health and developing friendships.”
4. Academic Performance Suffers
When your children are locked onto their screens, it’s obvious that they’ll spend less time studying and focusing on schoolwork. Sure, technology can be a fantastic teaching tool, but kids are more likely to be playing video games, watching YouTube videos or hanging out on social media. Two to four hours per day is the sweet spot for academic success, actually. Studies showed that the worst grades came from those that had seven or more hours per day. The second highest grades came from those that spent 0-2 hours.
3. Lack of Sleep
Even as adults, we’ve all heard about how you should limit screen time leading up to when you’re going to sleep. This is true for children, as well, as parents should be limiting the amount of blue light that they’re getting in the two hours before bed. Screen time has been linked to the severity of insomnia, with people spending seven or more hours per day getting the least amount of sleep. It’s tempting to play on your phone or laptop in bed, but it should be very limited at nighttime.
2. Screen Time Linked to Obesity
Think about what you do when you’re eating. Typically, you’ll sit down and watch something on television or perhaps on YouTube. Your children are doing the same thing, and it actually affects them more. When children are watching video after video, they’re more likely to mindlessly munch on convenient foods. It’s not usually apples, unfortunately, as kids are prone to grabbing potato chips and other fattening snacks. Try to get your kids moving, which leads us to our last point.
1. Double the Outdoor Time
Studies have shown that these days, children are spending more than twice as much time on their screens than they are outdoors. “Until recently, children spent many hours every week on this sort of physical, imaginative, social play,” said education expert Sir Ken Robinson. “‘Real play’ like this is not only enjoyable; it is vitally important in young lives.” Kids need to be active, make friends and focus on their health overall, and getting outdoors is a great way of doing just that.