In today’s world, you really can’t avoid gadgets in any way. There are TV screens everywhere you go. Tablets are being used in schools and people have smartphones in their pockets. With the advent of technology, screens have infiltrated every aspect of our lives. This has brought a huge impact on kids’ mental development.
Children these days spend most of their time on the screens. Whether it is for educational purposes or leisure, children are glued to their screens all the time. So the question arises, how much screen time is acceptable for a child.
Experts recommend about two hours of screen time per day for children but not more than that. It can be difficult to impose this limit as they might need it for their school work.
For some families, screen time has become a problem as the kids have become addicted to screens. It has grown to the extent that now family time involves everyone sitting together staring at their screens.
If this is your family’s condition, then it is high time for a digital detox. It does not have to be avoiding screens altogether, but you can limit the use of screens on a short-term basis. Monitoring your screen time and your kids as well can help a lot in reducing its effects. Doing this for a limited time could be healthy for you and your kids.
1. Signs which show you need Digital Detox
Excessive use of screens could lead to some emotional, behavioural and academic problems. Here are some of the signs which tell you when you need to put a stop the screen addiction:
- You get into struggles over possession of electronics. If you and your child go into an argument every time you tell them to switch off their gadgets, a little break might make them more compliant.
- Your child is dependent on technology for their entertainment. It has been studied that children spend an average of about eight hours per day on their devices. If your child is spending endless hours on gaming sites and watch TV for hours on end, a digital detox is badly needed for your child.
- If your family has developed some bad habits with their devices, it is highly recommended to limit the use of screens right then. Eating their meals while watching TV or texting each other instead of talking face-to-face, sleeping with their phones next to them or ignoring everyone to use social media are just a few examples of repercussions screen addiction can do.
2. Screen Addiction Linked to Behaviour Problems
Researchers have concluded that excessive screen time brings a huge number of cognitive changes in children. As new technology is updated, children are getting more prone to its advantages and disadvantages as well. Video games make it easy for kids to use the phone in the car. Kids’ access to screens while doing any chores or walking around. This is a huge red flag for the parents.
Take a look at how screen time impacts the psychology of a child.
- Increased aggression- excessive screen time makes children aggressive.
- Too much exposure to screens leads to sleep problems among kids. Lack of sleep can lead to reduced emotional regulation and impulsive behaviour.
- Excessive screen time may lead to difficulty recognizing other people’s emotions and have trouble expressing their own.
- Children who are constantly glued to their screens may avoid social interactions. They may find it difficult to perform in social gatherings.
3. Bring On Digital Detox
Here are a few strategies for creating a digital detox:
- Specify a digital-free day- Choose a day to go digital-free. Plan a day with your family and ask them to not use any gadget that day. Commit to spending quality family time that day or go for some fun activities with the kids.
- Plan a trip- A camping trip or vacation to a beach area or in the mountains could get everyone away from their screens. Take the children to remote areas where there is no access to the internet. Doing this may break their interest in screens and they might develop new habits.
- Use of medicines- Excessive use of screens may lead to eyesight problems. You can get eye ointments and other medicines from 90daymeds.com and get them delivered to your doorstep. Consider medical intervention immediately if your child shows signs of poor eyesight or other physical ailments.
4. Alternatives to Screen Time
Before the trend of video games and the internet, kids played outside most of the time. But now, everything has changed. Kids nowadays are glued to their screens. So if you take away their gadgets, they will look elsewhere for their entertainment. This might lead them to play outside.
Playing outdoors could help in reducing behavioural problems. Running around releases their physical energy and helps kids stay active. Exercise and outdoor play will help the kids sleep better too.
Green spaces such as parks help improve the attention span of kids. This also helps in reducing stress. Some studies have linked outdoor play with improved problem-solving skills, safety skills and creativity.
5. Breaking Bad Habits
If you tend to limit the use of gadgets for your child, you need to set an example for them. Some parents are habitual of turning on the TV as they walk in the door and compulsively check social media constantly. Kids adopt this behaviour by seeing their parents. They start asking for screen time when they see their parents using one as well.
Make a conscious effort to unplug the gadgets for some time. When kids will see you make an effort in reducing screen time, they will start using their screens less too and make more of an effort to develop new habits.
Stepping away from gadgets for some time can be a great experiment for your child. You will see changes in your child’s behaviour. A break for the screen could boost their mood and increase motivation to focus on their work.