Over 70% of parents are at least somewhat concerned that their young child may spend too much time looking at the phone, computer, or TV screens. However, in an increasingly post covid “online” world, even playschools have started online classes to keep children engaged, So it’s often hard to know exactly how much screen time is too much for children.
Fortunately, there are recommendations from experts on what amount of screen time is appropriate for your child, depending on their age. There are also ways to moderate and manage children’s screen time to help ensure that kids have a healthy relationship with their screens. It’s important to check the daycares about their screentime for children.
Put simply, “screen time is any time you spend on a screen,” More specifically, this includes the usage of phones, tablets, computers, televisions, and video games. Children are engaged in screen time when they are studying, attending online classes, watching TV or other video content, surfing the internet, playing video games, etc.
Guide to screentime limits
- Under 2 years old: Zero screen time, except for video chatting with family or friends
- 2-5 years old: No more than one hour per day co-viewing with a parent or sibling
- 5-17 years old: Generally no more than two hours per day, except for homework
How to ensure quality screen time:
- Preview programs, games and apps before allowing children to view or play with them.
- Seek out interactive options that engage children, rather than those that just require pushing and swiping or staring at the screen.
- Use parental controls to block or filter internet content.
- Make sure your child is close by during screen time so that you can supervise his or her activities.
- Ask your child regularly what programs, games and apps he or she has played during the day.
- When watching programming with children, discuss what you’re watching and educate your child about advertising and commercials.
How to Reduce Screen Time in children?
The best way to reduce screen time is to be mindful about setting limits on their media usage and then to talk to your child—and the rest of your family—about why this shift is important to make. Identify what types of media your child can engage with, as well as when and how you’ll allow your kids access to it.
It is helpful to think about how you can be consistent with screen limits while also staying calm when discussing or setting limits. It can also be helpful to introduce an alternative to spending time on the screen, particularly if it’s already a habit that your child is accustomed to. For instance, you might plan a media-free activity together, such as taking a bike ride as a family, or engage your child in other activities, like playing a sport, taking up a hobby or spending time outside to play with friends.
Also, many children want to do what the people they love most in their lives are also doing, Parents might find that reducing their own screen time can lead to their children spending less time on screens.
What Are the Risks of Too Much Screen Time?
Many observational studies find relationships between screen media exposure and increased risks of obesity. This association is believed to be tied to behaviors associated with screen time, such as additional eating while watching, exposure to ads that feature unhealthy foods and drinks and less time spent sleeping.
Sleep is another area that media usage can impact, particularly when programming is viewed too close to bedtime. This could be due to the blue light emitted from devices, or simply from viewing activating content. Increased exposure to media, or having a device like a phone or TV in the bedroom, is connected to less sleep per night.
Impacts on School Performance
Certain media usage may also have an impact on your child’s performance in school, some studies suggest. The more TV and video games children and teens watch, the more their academic performance may suffer. When children as young as 5 years old experienced more than two hours of screen time a day, there was an increased risk for health conditions, specifically inattention issues The study found this association to be greater than that of other factors, including socioeconomic factors, parenting stress and sleep.
How to Develop Positive Screen Time with Digital Devices
To develop positive screen time for children, 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. They 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 children can wisely use digital devices. They are:
- Knowledge Acquisition
The internet is full of learning resources. children can learn anything of their choice. Everything is just a click away. There are different websites solely made for education.
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 children can always communicate with you through video calls and chats.
- Healthy Behaviors
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 children of unhealthy lifestyles, diets, and behaviors. These apps are great to build good habits in children.
- Talent Display
Another way children can utilize screens is by showcasing their talents.
Children 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 children can record videos and upload them online.
Healthy screen time for children with strict timelines not only imparts the right knowledge to children but can also help in bringing routine to life. Routine provides predictability of the day to the human brain and children are found to be heavily benefitted if a family follows a routine on a regular basis. Recent studies highlight that parents are also getting enough “me time” when they allow children to participate in interactive virtual sessions with their educators and peers. Thus, having controlled screen exposure with active participation from a child can be a win-win situation for both children and parents.