What is Screen Time? What Risks Are Associated with It?
Screen time refers to the time you spend every day in front of your screens such as TV, smartphones, desktop computers, laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, etc. With easy access to the internet and these devices, children have become increasingly dependent on their devices and spend a large amount of time on their screens.
Surely, there are benefits to using these devices but the risks associated with it outnumber those benefits to a great extent. It is recommended to reduce your child’s screen time and make them busy somewhere else that involves lots of physical activity.
Explaining Screen Time
As explained above, screen time is basically the time you spend in front of your screens watching TV, using laptops or desktop computers, playing games on the gaming consoles, or using your smartphones or tablets.
While screen time may have its own share of benefits, such as being interactive, allowing you to play video games, communicate via Skype, or use online tools to draw objects, being educational as well as recreational. On the other hand, it can be non-interactive. For example, sitting in a similar position and watching TV or YouTube videos.
The renowned child development experts have suggested limiting your children’s screen time. According to them, real-life interactions are much better for your child’s learning, development as well as wellbeing.
Understanding Screen Time Limits
When you put limits on your child’s screen time, it does not necessarily mean that you are asking your child to stop using their devices altogether. In fact, it is about ensuring that your child is making the most from enjoying outdoor and physical activities – both with and without the screens.
Screen time limits indicate keeping a close eye on the time your child spends on their screens and making sure it doesn’t get in the way of other activities such as sleeping, eating, doing homework and playing outside and spending time with their family and friends that are actually quite important for their development.
To make sure your child is not spending way too much time in front of their screens, you can always go for setting up a parental control solution on the devices and online platforms they are using.
Risks Associated with Screen Time
Undoubtedly, screen time can have physical, developmental, safety and other risks for your child. By reducing your child’s screen time, you can reduce
these risks for them. Let us understand what risks are associated with screen time.
Spending too much time in front of screens can cause physical problems in your child. For instance, gazing at the screen constantly can cause dry, sore, and blurry vision, fatigue, and lots of headaches.
When your child is using a tablet or a smartphone, they have to bend their neck down and look at the screens which can cause neck, spine and back problems in your child.
On the other hand, constant use of screens can lead to a physically less active lifestyle, which may then lead to obesity and laziness.
Excess of screen time can have an adverse effect on your child’s behavioral and development skills. Children need to develop communication and social skills and they can only learn them properly from real-life interactions and experiences.
A child’s development can be dampened if they spend too much time in front of their screens. It can affect their ability to have normal conversations, pay attention in school, maintain eye contact with someone, or read someone’s body language.
If a child spends too much time in front of their screens, they can miss out on so many activities such as spending time with their friends, playing with
them or doing some other physical activity.
Your child will most likely come across several online threats such as cyber bullying, pornography, and pedophilia if they spend too much time in front of their screens. These internet dangers are harmful to your child’s mental and physical growth and can affect them negatively.
Screen-based media can also influence your children and their behavior in a negative way. For instance, children can imitate or be easily influenced by
negative behavior, abrasive language, inappropriate content, stereotypical depictions of the gender they see in online media and advertising.