Children today have a wide range of electronic devices at their disposal. They cannot imagine a world without tablets and smartphones.
Today’s technology has made it so that parents have to decide how to limit screen time. While digital devices can provide endless hours of entertainment and they can offer educational content, unlimited screen time can be harmful.1
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents place a reasonable limit on entertainment media. Despite those recommendations, children between the ages of 8 and 18 average 7 1/2 hours of entertainment media per day, according to a 2010 study by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It’s not only children who get too much screen time.
Many parents struggle to impose healthy limits on themselves too. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average adult spends over 11 hours per day behind a screen.
It’s important to understand how too much screen time could be harming everyone in the whole family.
Too much screen time can be dangerous, regardless of whether you have the TV on constantly or if your entire family is staring at their phones. These are some of the findings from the research:
Screen time is often discussed in terms of children. It’s important to remember that even adults can experience the same negative effects, such as obesity and sleep problems.
Even if your electronic devices aren’t causing you any health problems, there is a chance that your relationship with your child could be strained.
In a 2015 survey by AVG Technologies, one-third of children reported feeling unimportant when their parents looked at their smartphones during meals or when playing together.
Even replying to a quick text message could be sending your child another message—that your phone is more important than he is.
Your child’s mental health and development could be affected if you interrupt his care by checking your phone constantly. According to a 2016 study, looking at digital devices can increase the likelihood of your child developing mental health issues like depression.
It won’t help anyone to tell your child to put down his video games while you watch TV. For your sake and that of your child, it is important to establish healthy limits for electronics use.
Here are a few household rules you might want to establish to curb screen time:
In addition, consider an occasional digital detox for the whole family. You can either set aside one weekend per month to be completely screen-free or create a night without screens once a week. This could benefit everyone’s emotional and physical health as well as the relationships within your family.
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