Screen time for kids is a big topic of debate across the world of parenting.
How much should you allow them to have?
Should you allow them to have any at all?
According to statistics, children aged between 8-18 years old on average spend 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen, whether this is on a phone, tablet, laptop, TV, or all combined.
Statistics have also shown that there are direct links between screen time for kids and their mood, behaviour, and sleep. In excess, they are all negative links.
That means, whatever our viewpoints and opinions, this is definitely an important topic for us to discuss together as moms. We only want the best for our children and so that means we have to proactively give them the best. Knowing all the information we can is one of the best ways to do this.
With all of that in mind, let’s have a healthy discussion about either side of the argument for and against screen time for kids!
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The Harmful Side of Too Much Screen Time for Kids
As we’ve mentioned, statistics have found negative links between children spending too much time on screens and their mood, levels of anxiety, sleep patterns, and more. Some studies have even shown that the generations most exposed to excessive screen time have difficulties with their memory. Excess screen time for kids is being seen to affect the brain development of those kids.
That’s pretty scary stuff!
And it makes sense too. Of course, if you have the whole world of information at your fingertips, you don’t need to remember anything. If you have a calculator handy in two seconds, you don’t need maths skills.
Relying on screens heavily reduces the skills most humans have had for centuries. It reduces the skills we have and replaces them with a screen dependency.
That might not sound like too much of a problem to you. If we have the online tools why not use them? Sure, in one way that makes sense. But, solving problems, remembering things, and developing skills are the things that keep our brains alert and healthy. When we let them decline into only receiving entertainment and quick fixes, this makes our brains unhealthy. And that is where we see negative impacts on our cognition and mental health.
Avoiding Getting into Bad Habits
The most important thing to remember with this negative side of things is that it mostly comes down to screen time for kids in the excess.
It is the 7 hours a day, 7 days a week that we need to avoid.
And it is the introduction of screen time at a young age that can be equally destructive.
The best thing we can do for our children when it comes to screen time and digital devices is to help them form healthy habits for themselves and to implement them by establishing firm boundaries. It sometimes feels far too easy to give in to a child who is screaming for their iPad, and sometimes screen time feels the best quick fix to a tantrum.
But this doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do.
When it comes to managing screen time for kids in your home, you have to take control of the situation.
We know the impacts that excessive use can have and so we are loving our children by setting healthy boundaries. That’s the bottom line and you should feel confident in sticking to that.
The Positive Side of Allowing Screen Time for Kids
As we said, the problem with screen time for kids comes when things go to excess. There is also a healthy side to the use of screens in children’s lives and it is important to acknowledge those too.
Some of the positive aspects of children having access to screens are:
- Easy access to educational materials from home
- Ability to socialise and maintain connections with friends and family
- Ability to learn new skills from online tools and materials
- Fun and enjoyment
It’s important to remember that isn’t all about the number of hours your child is spending online. It is about the content of what they are looking at and the purpose of what they are doing.
And this is where your healthy boundaries from earlier can come back in. To make sure your children have the healthiest relationship possible with screens, it is important to set boundaries around what they can use and what they can look at it.
If it’s no good, cut it out.
How To Strike A Healthy Balance
The secret to healthy screen time for kids is balance.
From what we have discussed in this blog, we know that too much screen time for children is not good. It can impact them negatively in many different ways and these effects can be long-term. But we also know that our children can gain a lot of positives from their screen time, including socialisation and education.
At the end of the day, the best thing we can do as parents to manage screen time for kids in our home is to be a present, guiding force in their use. We need to see what’s happening, when, and how. We need to set boundaries and we need to enforce them.
Healthy habits start at home so we need to set our children on the right path.
And while we are at it, we should practice what we preach and have healthy screen time habits ourselves.
We can’t expect our children to do something we wouldn’t do and we can’t pretend that they don’t see what we are doing at all times. Let’s be the best influence we can be and keep everything healthy and happy at home.
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