Never before in the history of innovation and entertainment has there ever been a time where being entertained and informed could be done as seamlessly as it is now – all thanks to easily accessible mobile phones, home computers, smart TVs, and laptops, etc. It is now easy to binge-watch our favorite shows, stay glued to video games, or continually text for many hours. Sadly, kids are also prone to falling victim to this situation. Studies show that kids are now more glued to their screens than ever, leading to an increased prevalence of myopia.
You're left wondering just how much time kids are spending in front of screens for it to have this effect. Well, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives a shocking report on the subject matter. According to the CDC:
● Children aged 8 to 10 years spend an average of 6 hours daily in front of screens.
● Children aged 11 to 14 years spend an average of 9 hours in front of screens.
● Children aged 15 to 18 years spend an average of 7.5 hours in front of screens.
These astonishing statistics provide some form of clarity to the prevailing health challenges that are a result of these massive amounts of screen time.
What are the health challenges?
Parents must be made aware of any dangers their children could face as a result of the high number of hours spent in front of screens. Apart from the constant risk of developing myopia as a result of proximity to screens over long periods of time, children face even more dangerous consequences. Pediatricians warn that living a sedentary lifestyle could have some dangerous implications for children, including obesity, anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems.
These long hours of screen time also impair a child's ability to develop useful social skills that are needed to interact with the world. A child who spends long hours glued to a screen might find it difficult to interact and build friendships with other kids in school, playgrounds, and common areas.
How much is too much?
As a parent, your child's health must come first before their convenience and pleasure. And so, any amount of screen time that will pose any danger to their health or promote a sedentary lifestyle should not be encouraged. Although it might not be entirely possible to completely eliminate your child's access to TV, phones, or computers, maintaining a healthy and safe time limit is always the right way to go.
Appropriate time restrictions
Screen time restrictions are the best way to combat excessive screen time. You must ensure that the amount of time your child spends in front of a screen is monitored and regulated. Here are some time restrictions you can implement:
● Children under 2 years should not be given access to a phone, tablet, or computer. In the case it is necessary, the child must not remain glued to the device for a long period.
● Children from 2 to 5 years can spend up to 1 hour daily, but it must be with close supervision.
● Children from 5 to 17 years should not spend more than 2 hours daily – apart from time required by homework.
Additionally, there must be breaks in between the screen time sessions where the child must engage in an outdoor activity first before finishing his/her screen time. This is to allow the muscles in the eye to relax after being constricted in front of a screen for a long time. Your child can also engage in activities that ensure he/she is sharp and healthy.
As a parent, you must ensure that your kid replaces extra screen time with more productive and healthy activities. To successfully restrict your child's screen time, you must take important precautions like removing TVs or computers from your child's bedroom. This will help the child regularly get a good night's sleep, rather than spending it glued to a screen.
You could also engage in more interactive activities with your child to fill the void created by reducing screen time. This may include playing fun board games or simply having a face-to-face conversation with your child.
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