Let’s face it, our daily lives in the modern age involve screens in some form or another. This sort of technology allows for broad access to information, remote communication abilities, and endless opportunities for entertainment. Among all the benefits of digital technology in the modern age comes a need for balance, especially when it comes to raising kids.
How Screens Can Be Helpful for Your Kids
Using screens, such as tablets, smartphones, or televisions, can be useful in a number of ways. Digital technology comes in handy when your kids need to complete projects for school that require research. Learning how to conduct research using good sources is a helpful skill that will continue to be useful throughout adulthood and having a device with internet access can help build this skill. Electronic screens also offer the benefit of displaying educational videos that present easily digestible information.
Video games, whether they are on a large or small screen, have been known to be beneficial in helping build attention skills, quick decision-making, and coordination. Video games that involve movement are also good sources for physical activity on a rainy day.
Using screens for entertainment, whether for watching a show or browsing memes, can also just be a good way to decompress and relax for a little while.
Reasons to Limit Screen Time with Your Child
Many experts agree that children should be in front of a screen for no more than two hours a day and that children under two years old should have little to no screen time at all.
One of the main problems that can occur as a result of too much screen time is limited attention. This is especially true of children who have attention struggles, such as kids with ADHD or Autism, or who tend to act out impulsively.
Children who are in front of a screen for too long have also been found to have more struggles with social interaction. This is often simply a result of limited face-to-face interaction. The more your kid’s on a screen, the less opportunity they have to practice social interaction. Children that have less screen time have also been found to be better at reading other people’s emotions as well.
Using screens too much, especially in the evening, has also been associated with worse sleep. Some of this can be attributed to the blue light emitted from the screen itself, but a lot of it can simply be the result of lost time. When children spend more than two hours watching television, playing video games, or on social media, it cuts into the time they have to finish homework and do other activities.
Overall, reducing screen time for kids has also been shown to reduce the risk of obesity in children while also helping to boost performance in school.
Balancing Screen Time with your Child
The most important thing to remember when it comes to your children using screens is to set clear limits. There should be a concrete time limit on how long they are allowed to be in front of a screen. This means keeping televisions or tablets out of the bedroom and limiting smartphone use.
Use your judgment when giving your child an electronic device when they are under stress or are having a hard time calming down. Try to have them play a relaxing game that you can perhaps play with them. However, you should encourage other coping skills that don’t involve turning on a screen as much as possible. And you should certainly never just hand your child a screen if they are throwing a tantrum or being inappropriate.
Using screens and digital technology has its benefits for sure. Beyond just using them for education and relaxing, having fun movie nights as a family or playing interactive games can be a great way to bond. Stick to a healthy balance with your child’s screen time to help support their best behavior and personal growth.